WKI Press Release
August 8, 2008
Washington, D.C. – The President of Washington Kurdish Institute, Dr. Najmaldin Karim, called attention to the plight of Kurds in Iran and requested international recognition and support for them in their struggle with the Iranian regime. Kurds are denied basic human rights by the Iranian government. Amnesty International recently issued a report that documents a number of human rights violations by the Iranian regime, including institutionalized discrimination against Kurds and Kurdish organizations, widespread repression of women, illegal imprisonment of Kurdish students, journalists, and human rights defenders, as well as the execution of minors.
Dr. Karim said, “The Iranian regime continues to subject its Kurdish population to repression and a wide range of human rights violations. Kurds are denied their full cultural, political, and economic rights; and they cannot express any form of political dissent with the government hierarchy or they face imprisonment, torture, or even execution.
‘The provinces of Iranian Kurdistan suffer from increasing isolation from the outside world. The Iranian regime neglects these provinces and, at the same time, punishes them for any expression of regional or local empowerment. Iranian Kurds live in a very difficult situation and they need international support, especially from the world’s liberal democracies.
‘The specific instances documented by the Amnesty International report are appalling. The court system in Iran does not operate with even a pretense of due process. Proceedings, particularly those involving political prisoners, are a sham. The increasing numbers of executions by the regime is alarming, especially the use of the death penalty against minors.”
Dr. Karim concluded: “The international community should make these human rights violations a priority in its engagement of the Iranian regime. The European Union Presidency has rightly issued a statement urging an end to these practices. The Kurdish issue in Iran has not received enough attention because of the larger strategic game that the regime is playing in the Middle East. I hope that the world’s leading democratic governments will exert whatever pressure they can to help democratize Iran’s domestic politics.”