The Ahwazi issue is set to go to the forefront of British human rights concerns in Iran after members of the Ahwazi Arab community in the UK and Canada met with Sir Bob Russell MP at the Houses of Commons in May.
Liberal Democrat Sir Bob has supported minority rights issues, including the Palestinian cause, in the House of Commons since he was elected as MP for Colchester in 1997, but like many MPs has little experience of the Ahwazi issue. Among those representing the Ahwazis were Amir Saedi of the Ahwazi Community Association UK, Ali Ghata Ahwazi of the Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights and representatives of the Canadian Ahwazi Friendship Society and Ahwazi Arab Solidarity Network (AASN). The Iranian regime’s pillaging of oil resources from traditional Arab lands, its policy of forced displacement, environmental degradation and the atrocious human rights record in Al-Ahwaz were topics of discussion.
Sir Bob agreed that the British government needs to do more to prompt multilateral bodies, such as the UN Human Rights Council, to take action over the plight of indigenous Ahwazi Arabs. The main short-term objective is to ensure that UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, Ahmad Shahid, is allowed unfettered entry to Al-Ahwaz to interview political prisoners and examine living conditions in Arab districts. Sir Bob pledged to raise the Ahwazi issue in parliamentary questions and possibly move an Early Day Motion (EDM) in parliament, which could be signed by MPs. The AASN will be working with Sir Bob to promote the Ahwazi cause in parliament.
Meanwhile, AASN director Daniel Brett met with a representative of the National Council for Resistance in Iran to examine campaigns of mutual interest, particularly the conditions facing Ahwazi and Kurdish inmates of Camp Al-Waleed and Mujahideen-e Khalq in Camp Liberty in Iraq.