Victims of Landmines in Kurdistan of Iran

Testimonies of Landmines in Kurdistan of Iran prepared by Omid Ghaderi Aghdam

KMMK-G Written Submission to the 50th Session of UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) on the review of the ESCR in the Islamic Republic of Iran


KMMK-G Written Submission to the 50th Session of UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) on the review of the ESCR in the Islamic Republic of Iran


The Association for Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva (KMMK-G) wish to draw the attention of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) on the cases of violations of the ICESCR by the Islamic Republic of Iran in Kurdistan of Iran and reminds the ICESCR´s Committee that the Iranian government’s systemic and systematic discrimination and repression policy against its ethnic nationalities and religious groups continue to persist.


Article 13 – Rights to Education, Article 15 – Cultural Rights, Article 2 – non-discrimination

Under the article 15 of the Iranian Constitution, the official language is Persian. The same article stipulates that the teaching of the literature of regional and tribal languages is allowed in addition to Persian, in the press and mass media. However, the mention of regional languages is only a façade, since the Kurdish and other national minorities’ language is not taught in schools, the national minorities newspapers are regularly closed down and the journalists arrested.

Following are some clear evidences of the above mentioned ESCR articles violation by the Islamic Republic of Iran:

According to a disclosed document[1], the Iranian Ministry of Education circulated an official confidential document (Refrence N° 392/170,  Iranian dated Lunar 09/10/1391) in Kurdish province of Kermanshah prohibiting the teachers to use the local language namely Kurdish in Public sphere and schools.

The members of Kurdistan Teachers Union[2] (KTU) (Ramin Zandnia, Baha Maleki, Peyman Nodinian, Ali Qureyshi, Kamal Fakurian, Mostafa Sarbazan, Ezat Nosrati, Parviz Nasehi, Mohammad Sadigh Sadeghi, Hiva Ahmadi and Reza Vakili) were each sentenced to four months in jail, which has been suspended for two years. The banishment verdict of Mokhtar Asadi another member of KTU was renewed for the fifth consecutive year and the travel ban on Mr. Hashem Khastar, a Kurdish cultural activist, was also renewed.

Moreover, the only Kurdish news agency namely  the Mukeryan News Agency was shut down on February 2013 and it’s director Mr. Massoud Kurdpur[3] and as well as  his brother Khosrow Kurdpur were sentenced to jail.

Article 11 – Right to an adequate standard of living,  Article 9 – Right to social security, Article 7 – Right to just and favourable conditions of work, Article 6  – Right to Work


Landmines in Kurdistan of Iran

Sixteen millions of Landmines implanted in Kurdistan of Iran by the Iranian authority hampers seriously the daily life of Kurdish civilians particularly the farmers, nomads, shepherds, sheep traders and this undermines clearly the above mentioned ESCR articles.

Iran is one of the most mined fields in the Middle-east. Mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), especially unexploded ordnance (UXO), remain in Iran from the 1980-1988 conflict with Iraq, affecting particularly the Kurdish provinces and the province of Khuzestan (Ahwaz –Arab region).[4]  Uunexploded ordnance (UXO) is said to include cluster munitions[5]  remnants.

The Iranian Kurdistan along with Ahwaz-Arab provinces but also the Baluchistan suffers badly from landmines. Despites the urgent need of demining, the Authorities have neglected these regions in their de-mining programs, which seriously impact the daily life of people and hamper the development of agriculture and industry in the region.

Despite the International NGO’s frequent demands to the Islamic Republic of Iran to adhere to international conventions on banning landmines, the Iranian authorities have not acceded yet to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty known as Ottawa convention. Moreover, they have abstained from voting on every annual UN General Assembly Resolution supporting the Mine Ban Treaty since 1997, including the resolution 63/64 on 2 December 2008.

Plus the Iran-Iraq war landmines, the Islamic Republic of Iran emplaced landmines not only around the borders, but also in the heart of Kurdistan. In fact, the Pasdaran forces (the Revolutionary Guards) use to place mines around its military bases in Kurdish villages, towns and mountains. The military even places heavy mines around the water sources in the mountains to prevent the Kurdish Peshmergas (combatants) to get resourced with drink water, which often causes casualties among civilians: farmers, nomads, shepherds and sheep traders.

Furthermore, the number of mine/ERW casualties in Iran remains unknown and little information exist about the number of landmines victims. In Kurdish media, there are daily reports about victims of mine/ERW who are often civilians. Provinces with Kurdish populations—Kurdistan, Western Azerbaijan, Ilam and Kermanshah—all lay on the heavily-mined border with Iraq. A UN[6] report mentions approximately 10’000 casualties by 2006.

Besides the high number of Mine/ERW casualties, there is no specific victim assistance framework for Kurdish victims in Kurdistan of Iran. The Iranian authorities have expressly neglected the Kurdish and ethnic groups areas from demining and assistance programs, which hampers seriously the daily life of civilians in all fields.

Moreover, due to highly landmines fields in Kurdistan of Iran, the Kurdish farmers and villagers to survive economically, they seek jobs as known as Kolbaran/carriers or smugglers. Indeed, the villagers, they cross the Iraqi borders and they ports goods in to Iran for a very small amount of money which costs often their life. Each year hundreds of Kurdish carriers are victims of the Iranian security guards at the border and are killed or wounded according to BBC[7].

In conclusion, the KMMK-G demands the UN Committee on ESCR to pay a particular attention to the issue of landmines and urge the Iranian authority to ratify the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty known as Ottawa convention.


Association for Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva (KMMK-G) ,       Geneva, May 2013



[4] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 860; and see Mahdi Afruzmanesh, “Iran: Hidden Menace of Iron Soldiers,” Paywands Iran News (Tehran), 17 June 2008,

[5] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 860; and EDDie Banks, “Demining  in Iran,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 9.2, February 2006,

[6] [6] “Information about Landmine Explosion Victims,  UN, “2006 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects,” New York, 2007, p. 199.

[7] Kurdish smugglers risk life to enter Iran from Iraq:

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