COVID causes horrific human rights violations to be swept under the rug

Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Bangladesh are committing awful human rights violations as you read this.The UNHRC is otherwise occupied. Op-ed.

Rachel Avraham‏ ,

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UNHRC logo
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As we speak, everyone is pre-occupied with the killing of the top Iranian nuclear scientist, the possibility of elections in Israel, the Abraham Accords, the coronavirus pandemic, and the aftermath of the US elections.

However, while everyone is pre-occupied with those critical matters, the human rights situation continues quietly but surely to deteriorate, from Iran to Turkey to Afghanistan to Bangladesh. Sadly, the world has turned a blind eye to it.

The human rights situation has been especially atrocious in the Ahwaz region. This is why in recent days, a high-level Iranian official Habib Sawari was killed in an attack in the Al Ahwaz region. Manel Msalmi, an advisor to the European Parliament, stated in an exclusive interview: “There have been protests due to the random arrests, executions, racial discrimination, poverty, unemployment, the coronavirus and water shortage. The people are demanding their freedom and the liberation of Al Ahwaz from Iranian occupation. There are thousands of Ahwaz people who have been jailed.”

The Khuzestan region is one of the richest regions in Iran. Since it has a large amount of gas and oil resources, the Iranian government has always tried to take control of it. Hamid Mutashar, the Secretary General of the Ahwazi Liberal Party, noted:

“Al-Ahwaz oil constitutes 89 percent of the total oil that the Iranian occupation plunders and this rogue regime uses it to finance global terrorism under the guise of religion. Furthermore, Iran implements unjust policies against Ahwazi farmers and the Ahwazi people in general lost much wealth. It is really heartbreaking. The international community must pay attention to the suffering of this people.”

Sirwan Mansouri, a Kurdish journalist and human rights activist based in the Middle East, described how minorities in Iran like the Kurds and Balochs similarly face discrimination in comparison with other peoples, noting that the plight of prisoners especially is dismal amid the pandemic in the Islamic Republic:

“Most of them got sick due to their horrific prison conditions. Instead of curing them in hospitals outside of prison, the regime put them in cells. The regime has taken advantage of the pandemic to arrest more minorities.”

Iranian political theorist Dr. Reza Parchizadeh concurred, stressing that the plight of the Iranian people has deteriorated recently:

“Unfortunately, blatant violations of human rights in the Middle East have been overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the US presidential elections. For instance, during the November 2019 protests in Iran, thousands were brutally massacred or arrested by the regime’s security forces, but there has been little coverage of their plight and zero justice for them so far. The regime’s agents are also on a rampage of assassinating Iranian dissidents overseas, especially in Turkey. Similarly, the relatives of the victims of the Ukrainian passenger plane crash that was intentionally shot down over Iran by the Revolutionary Guards, are being persecuted by the regime while still seeking justice through international platforms.”

Mansouri added that the plight of refugees in Turkey is also horrible amid the pandemic, yet receives little international exposure:

“There are some refugees who lost their lives during the pandemic last month since the Turkish government cut off their health insurance. Among them was Masoud Khalili Rad, an Iranian refugee who had heart disease and lived in Turkey for more than six years before dying. Also, Samoyeh Ramouz and Nasibeh Shamsaei, who took asylum in Turkey and were in danger of being deported after they were transferred to the deportation camps.”

Shipan Kumer Basu, who is the President of World Hindu Struggle Committee, noted similarly that the plight of Hindus in Bangladesh has also deteriorated amid the pandemic:

“The Hindu community in Bangladesh has faced brutal torture, arson, looting, rape, forcible conversion and assault by members of the ruling regime.” He also noted that Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, the Bangladeshi Home Minister, has taken advantage of the pandemic in order to claim falsely that propaganda is being spread against the Prophet Muhammed, while denying the persecution faced by the Hindu community in the country.

“In Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, the Iranian regime’s proxy forces continue to suppress popular protests and kill protesters and dissidents,” Parchizadeh emphasized in conclusion. “Also, in Afghanistan, the Taliban and al-Qaeda, in coordination with the regime in Iran, have been committing heinous atrocities against the Afghan people on a massive scale. In sum, the human rights conditions across the Middle East remain dismal and sadly underrepresented in the West.”

Will the world to pay attention to their plight? Will the UNHRC take a break from its ludicrous Israel-bashing to do something?.

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working for the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights. She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”



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