The Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Al-Ahwaz held a mass demonstration in front of the International Criminal Court in The Hague earlier yesterday (Friday, February 26, 2016) in solidarity with Ahwazi activists imprisoned by the Iranian regime.
Representatives of other Arab communities, including Syrians, Palestinians and Iraqis, participated in the demonstration to show their solidarity with the ongoing plight of Ahwazis.
Many protesters carried the Ahwazi flag, alongside pictures of Ahwazi martyrs and prisoners, and banners in Arabic and English denouncing the brutal Iranian occupation, now in its 91st year and the death penalty sentences recently issued against dozens of Ahwazi Arab activists. The demonstrators demanded that international organizations intervene to prevent the Iranian regime from executing the prisoners and carrying out more arbitrary arrest campaigns against Ahwazi rights activists.
The demonstration received extensive media coverage from many Arab and foreign media, including Al Arabiya, Saudi Arabia First channel, Future TV, Wesal channel and Orient News.
This is the third large-scale demonstration by Ahwazi freedom activists following others in Copenhagen and Vienna. The demonstrations are being held in the European capitals to raise awareness of the daily crimes perpetrated by the Iranian regime against the Ahwazi people; yesterday’s demonstration focused particularly on raising awareness of the need to protest against the imminent executions of five Ahwazi political prisoners after regime authorities vowed to execute them together at a public execution shortly.
At the end of the demonstration, organizers issued a final statement, which reads as follows:
For many years the Iranian authorities have committed one crime after another. The crimes, which all amount war crimes in terms of ugliness and brutality and the numbers and specific persecution of the victims, are committed on racial grounds, being always perpetrated against non-Persian peoples: Arabs, Baluchis, Azeris, Kurds and Turkmen. It is unsurprising that the Iranian perpetrators go unpunished in Iran, where there is no justice and a complete lack of any independent judiciary or accountability among state officials.
More surprisingly, however, the Iranian officials guilty of committing heinous crimes against non-Persian peoples have impunity here in the free world, where they face no accountability, punishment or prosecution for their crimes against humanity, with some of them traveling and moving freely between European countries.
Where are the international organizations active in the human rights field? Where are the United Nations and its institutions which are supposed to investigate and prosecute war crimes, genocides and mass violations of human rights? Where are these bodies and institutions when it comes to the prosecution of Iranian officials who take turns to travel freely to European nations?
Finally, what is the role of the International Criminal Court, which we should be able to turn to in the expectation that it will condemn and help to prosecute the crimes perpetrated against the Arab people of Ahwaz and other non-Persian peoples, including such crimes against humanity as forced displacement, ethnic cleansing, systematic torture and deliberate environmental degradation?
We are here today to call upon the international community:
First, to show solidarity with the victims murdered by the Iranian regime especially the Ahwazi Arab prisoners and the families of the martyred and missing.
Second: We call on the International Criminal Court to take the necessary measures against the Iranian regime’s grave human rights abuses in Ahwaz and to impose real, substantial pressure on the regime to force it to end its atrocities or, at the very least, to provide legal counsel for the victims of these heinous crimes.
Third: We demand that the International Criminal Court send a special envoy to take testimony from, catalogue and document the Iranian regime’s violations against survivors of the regime’s prisons and from the families of those murdered and ‘disappeared’ by the regime, and to open a judicial file against Iranian regime officials.
Fourth, We call upon the free world not to remain silent any longer about what is happening to the Arab people of Ahwaz who continue to endure genocide, forced displacement and ethnic cleansing at the hand of Iranian regime officials, and to take punitive action in order to force the regime to end its monstrous policies of murder, deliberate starvation and torture.