National And Religious Minorities In The Middle East 25 September 2012, Palais Des Nations, Geneva, Time: 14.00 16.00
Ms. Valeria Majori, Mr. Charles Graves, Mr. Christoph Wiedmer Mr. Nasser Boladai Mrs. Sundus Saqi
Uncovering human rights situation in Iran and Iraq and implications from the Arab Spring
On behalf of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), you are cordially invited to attend UNPO’s parallel event ”National and Religious Minorities in the Middle East” taking place at Palais des Nations – Geneva, on 25th September 2012, 14.00-16.00.
Through this event, UNPO aims at bringing attention to the human rights situation of religious and national minorities in Iran and Iraq, with two specific case studies on West Balochistan and the Iraqi Turkmen. We aim for the event to reach diplomatic staff members, UN staff members, academics, NGOs alike, and people with an interest in human and minority rights.
Iran’s population includes a large number of religious, ethnic, and linguistic minorities. These groups are highly diverse, but share common experiences of economic marginalization, political repression and denial of even the most basic of cultural rights. Baloch people in Iran are deprived of their cultural, social and economic rights leaving them feeling like third class citizens. They face discrimination, particularly with regard to political participation and the job market. The punishment for dissemination of Baloch culture and language is a declared act of treason against the state and assimilation policies carried out by the Persian state mean that the Baloch are rapidly losing their identity. Baloch people face systematic intimidation, harassment arrests, and torture.
Minorities in Iraq include various ethnic and religious groups. The Kurds, Assyrians (also known as Chaldo-Assyrians), and Iraqi Turkmen represent the three largest non-Arab minorities in the country. Since the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the Iraqi Turkmen have been victims of several massacres, such as the Kirkuk Massacre of 1959. Furthermore, under the Baath party, discrimination against the Iraqi Turkmens increased, with several leaders being executed in 1979 as well as the Iraqi Turkmen community being victims of Arabization policies by the state. Despite being recognized in the 1925 constitution as a constitutive entity, the Iraqi Turkmens were later denied this status, they have suffered from various degrees of suppression and assimilation that ranged from political persecution and exile to terror and ethnic cleansing.
This event will highlight some of the most pressing issues currently facing minorities in Iran and Iraq. Confirmed speakers include Nasser Boladai (Spokesperson, Balochistan Peoples Party), Sundus Saqi (Representative, Iraqi Turkmen Front), Charles Graves (Secretary General, Interfaith International), and Christoph Wiedmer (Director, Society for Threatened Peoples). Speakers will present a picture of the state of minority rights in the Middle East region, explore the implications of the Arab Spring and democratic movements on minority rights, as well as discuss successful examples of multinational democracies.
25 September 2012, Time: 14.00-16.00
Palais des Nations, Geneva
14:00 – 14:05 Welcome: Ms. Valeria Majori
Project Assistant, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
14:05 – 14:15 Opening Remarks Representative TBA
Non-Violent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT)
14:15 – 14:35 Human Rights of Minorities in Iraq and Iran
Mr. Charles Graves Secretary General, Interfaith International
14.35 – 14.55 Minorities in the Middle East and the Arab Spring: Chances and Risks Mr. Christoph Wiedmer
Director, Society for Threatened Peoples
14.55 – 15:15 Iraqi Turkmen and the Human Rights Situation After 2003 Mrs. Sundus Saqi
Representative, Iraqi Turkmen Front
15.15 – 15.35 Protest for change in the Meddle East and Nationalities Question in Iran Mr. Nasser Boladai
Spokesperson, Balochistan Peoples Party
15:35 – 15:55 Discussion & Questions (20 min)
15:55 – 16:00 Closing Remarks