29th session of the HRC (June 16)
ID with Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Special Rapporteur on minority issues

Südwind appreciates your honest endeavors concerning both the human rights of migrants and of minorities, notably Roma, worldwide. The number of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea in the first five months of 2015 has exceeded 1,800 and is at least five times higher than the death toll for the same period of 2014. But still, people are willingly taking these journeys because there’s no safe alternative. This is proof enough that the international community is not aware enough of its most important responsibility of the century.

We have seen a young Iranian couple with an expecting wife, fleeing from religious persecution, leaving their life in the hands of smugglers on a makeshift ferry while crossing the sea from Turkey to Greece. When it comes to the human rights of migrants, we need to be more united. Migrants, notably refugees, have in huge parts become witnesses of unspeakable acts. Families are torn apart during their journey and have no chance of living together, mostly because of the lack of consistent policies. We call for a clear and coherent global approach to migration and mobility.

In Iran, a sense of belonging is replaced by systematic racism. As of July 2014, according to UNHCR almost one million refugees are living in the country. Many Afghans face forceful deportation on a daily basis. Not even the children of an Afghan man and an Iranian woman can obtain the Iranian citizenship. As refugees, regardless of their education and skills, they can only work to a limited number in dangerous and poorly paid manual labor jobs. We are urgently waiting for the Islamic Republic of Iran to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families as promised in the second cycle of UPR.

We furthermore appreciate the report by the honorable Rapporteur Rita Izsák. The situation of Roma population who have a long history of living in Iran, illustrates in a sad manner how the Iranian state and society systematically turn a blind eye on their minorities. They are called kowli, but depending on the region, they are also called čegini in the North and abdal in the South. They have no
permanent place of residence, yet unlike Bakhtiaris and Ghashghais, Roma are not included in any official statistics. They are denied education because they have no identity card. They die as a result of very simple diseases because they are deprived of healthcare facilities. Discrimination and exclusion against Roma in Iran continue after death, for they are not allowed to bury their family members on normal cemeteries.


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