The Ahwazi Arab minority in Iran continue to face marginalisation which aims at erasing their national identity and obstructing their personal development. This is done through a mono linguistic education system that prevents Arabs from receiving education in their own language.The Ahwazi Arab minority in Iran continue to face marginalisation which aims at erasing their national identity and obstructing their personal development. This is done through a mono linguistic education system that prevents Arabs from receiving education in their own language.
UNESCO Director, Audrey Azoulay reiterates UNESCO’s position which encourages and recommends schooling in the mother tongue in multilingual countries as “children learn best in their mother language”.
Being a multilingual country, Iran provides no recourses for this, making it difficult for Ahwazi Arabs to achieve educational attainment. When the recourses are not available during the years of early development, children miss out on the opportunity to master their mother tongue of Arabic and they lack the basic literacy skills of reading and writing.
Eventually, the barriers for employment and social mobility increases, and as a consequence Ahwazi Arab citizens are treated as second-class citizens.
Arabic upholds great significance on the global scene and is one of the official languages of the United Nations. Researches by the British Council has also found that the Arabic language is one of the ten most important languages for the UK's future. Such findings give Iran no valid reason for demoting the Arabic language.
The very little effort to protect the Arabic language contributes to Iran’s agenda of Persianising the region, making it harder for individuals to reconnect with their heritage and develop an emotional attachment to their traditions and values. Instead, many institutions and procedures promote the single language of Farsi for the purpose of national unity.
In turn, this interferes with social integrity as it compels those of Persian origin to feel superior to their Arab counterparts as their language, heritage, and history are at the forefront of the national curriculum and public domain.
Hassan Rouhani has claimed that he is pressing on ethnic minority rights, most notably through appointment of Ali Younesi as an advisor for ethnic groups and minority affairs on December 2017. Younesi’s proclaimed commitment on ethnic minorities, however, seems to be more talk rather than action as throughout Rouhani’s presidency. Rouhani’s promises of protection of minority rights however, are yet to be delivered to the Arab community in Iran.
Iranian government continues to obstruct the path for linguistic diversity, violating its human rights obligation of protecting minority languages and instead creates a backdrop for marginalisation and oppression of the Ahwazi Arabs.
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status..”
Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights(link is external), 1948.