This report was sent to Swedish Foreign Ministry before a meeting on Iran and Coronavirus impact on Iran and Balochistan. And Iran’s policy towards national minority on 19 May 2020.
Iran’s unabated suppression of Baloch People in the time of Covid19 Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic health crisis has not in any way abated Islamic government policies of suppressing, discriminating and neglecting Baloch people’s physical security access to home and walgare and health.
Covid19 in Balochistan and Iranian regime’s policy
From the beginning of Covid19 spread in Iran, the government started hiding the truth in order to perform the anniversary celebration of its 1979 Islamic revolutions and holding its National parliamentary election on 21 February 2020, caused Covid19 speedy spread in Central Iran (Tehran and Qom), and later into distant regions like Balochistan.
When education centers and offices closed in central Iran, many families took the opportunity to travel to warmer climate area such coastal city of Chahbhar in Balochistan (~2000 km away) to spend their New Year (Now Rooz) holiday while facing no travel restriction by the government.
Lack of information in mother language
The highest rate of illiteracy in Iran belongs to Balochistan where a high population of its people are illiterate and do not understand Persian as it is the only official and educational language and literature in Iran. Despite of the Iranian constitutional recognition of Balochi Language as one of Iran’s ethnic languages, there has not been any official Covid19 information literatures in Balochi language. Linguistic discrimination has made a high percentage of Baloch and other linguistic/national minorities population who are uneducated, much more vulnerable in protecting themselves and their loved ones from the Covide19 pandemic health crisis.
During the Covid19 pandemic situation, majority of Baloch school students do not have access to online teaching equipment as a result Baloch and other national minorities students are the most kept behind students Iran.
74% of Baloch people population living under the Iranian standard poverty line. Iranian government has only provided a loan of 1 million Iranian Tuman most venerable people which is less than a 100 dollar. this in no way going to help most effected people by economic crisis. According to international and domestic estimates, Iran’s economy will shrink between 6 to 12 % due to bad economic policy and Covid19 economical effect.
Despite of Covid19 fast spreading in Iran, president Rohani announced Balochistan as a safe and under control region where people can go back to their work and travel within the province!
A very high percentage of Balochistan work force where there is not any economic infra structure, are daily wageworkers. In this worsening economic condition, there is not any government economic plan in place to help people who have lost their income and have no choice but to go out for cheap laboring to provide food for their families. This situation is another contributing factor of spread of Covid19 in Balochistan.
Extra judicial arrests and killings in Balochistan
Iranian government is using Covid19 pandemic crisis to intensify its extra judicial arrests and killings policy in Balochistan. More than 20 Baloch young men has been killed only this year mostly in what is no call Extra judicial killing and young men mostly engaged in what is call “ShukhtBari” transporting and selling Gasoline in Black market at the border of Iran and Pakistan to find an income. Here is only one examples:
One of the most cruel incident was on 6th May 2020 when security forces raided the home of two young brother boys Mohammad Pourian aged 17 and Mehdi Pourian aged 19 at Asadabad in Iranshahr City, arresting them while they were in their beds. Boys beaten harshly and then bullet riddled in front of their poor mother’s eyes. On the same date and in the same area, another young boy aged 17 named Danial Brahoui taken out of his bed and killed in front of her mother’s eyes by the same security forces. These boys’ mothers’ live interviews and their emotional cries with Kalemeh TV presenter Mr Ahrari cannot be watched by ordinary peoples. This killing at the time when Coronavirus is spreading is irresponsible and helps the spread of Covid 19 in Balochistan and will jeopardize Baloch people health.
Distraction of Baloch Peoples home to confiscate their land in a policy to change Demography
Even in the time of Covid-19 regime has not stopped destruction home and confiscating of Baloch people land, Balochistan cities to distribute them tom member of Iran’s military and security forces. These destructions also helps the Coronavirus to spread. people that loose their home have to find accommodation with their friends and family making social and physical distance impossible. Here, the following events took place on:
The Iranian security forces destroyed many homes of people in Safidak a suburban village of poor Baloch people near Zahidan City showing a permission form high ranking authorities from Tehran. From the published videos it displays that they are armed with all kind of weapons to terrorize residents, asking them to move away while doing their building destruction job by engaging huge bulldozers.
7th May 2020 in Chabhar Port City while Covid19 enumerating up in Balochistan;
People in Jangalok village, a small suburb settlement of Baloch people in Chabhar city, have been under constant pressure by the Iranian regimes’ intelligence and security forces to evacuate and move from there voluntarily. The residents being settled there for generations while living on their traditional involvement on fishing from the sea and nowadays doing daily wage laboring works, have always resisted unitedly. eventually on 7 may 2020 a fire where all signs indicate that was staged and managed erupted and burnt and brought to ground all houses there. In this situation the grieving families are promised new homes in another place which like other promises by this government will never be delivered to local poor Baloch peoples as before.
On 21 April 2020 another demolishing of Baloch homes in Chabhar hit local people in Mirabad area. Their home were demolished and they were forced to leave their home to without being provided any other facilities. They were under pressure from last year to leave their homes, and attempted to demolish their home on 16 May 2019, but that time most of people were at home and resisted demolishing unitedly, but this this time demolition took place when most of them were outside their home.
On 13 April in Baghdani a suburban village of Iranshahr City, few homes of people were destroyed and their lands confiscated.
During all of the above reported destruction and people’s homelessness, despite of Health authorities and experts’ instructions and advices about Covid19 spread, no physical and social distances were followed and no shelter provided to affected people who had no choice but to seek help from relatives and friends or local NGOs. This policy of intensifying suppression.
It is also worth to note that while the Iranian people are suffering from the hardship of the current economic, social and health crisis, how the Iranian regime is pursuant to its militarization policies in destabilizing the region instead of helping its people’s wellbeing and peace in the region. Recently they launched a military satellite in the space while carrying a naval training to test their warship missiles in Oman Sea and Balochistan Coastal sea water where its Jamaran sea force war ship’s missiles destroyed Konarak warship, killing 19 and injures 15 of its naval force personnel at Konarak Naval Base. The injured were taken to Chahbhar hospital where the Hospital was already over its capacity.
Covid-19 spread in Balochistan increased last Week
Due to Iran government lack of interest to Baloch people Coronavirus has spread in Balochistan and regime announced that provinces like Khusistan (Ahawaz Arab region) Sistan-Balochistan, Luristan and Western Azerbaijan cases of Covid 19 are increasing.
We ask the international community to put pressure on the Iranian regime, allowing international humanitarian organizations such as Red Cross and Doctor Without Border in providing medical help to Baloch people.
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Balochistan People’s Party