Speaker : Mr. Hamid ATIYEH - Ahwaz Studies Centre
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Side event in Human Rights Council,Tenth session – 30 November -1 December 2017_ Genev
I am speaking on behalf of Ahwazi-Arab youth minority group in Iran.
Ahwzi-Arabs or Arab minorities in Iran suffer from denial of thier identity
Residing mainly in the southwest of Iran – their population is estimated to be 5-7 millions or some 10% of the population.
the region name was changed by iranian government in 1936 from Arabistan to the Khuzestan – this was done to deny their Arab identity of the region.
Arab-majority Khuzestan accounts for up to 90% of Iran’s oil revenue- yet Ahwazis live in abject poverty.

young ahwazis are subjected to stereotype and government media is enforcing the negative image of young arab men and women systemically.
for example arab young portrait as uneducated , emotional and criminals and for women are mostly shown as dispred, unable to control her life.
young minority youth don't have real representation in the political life within iran, and arab community never had a political party to reflect their demands. the political activities is banned and even count as a crime. civil activists been detained and subjected to arbitrary arrest for example the Iranian security services arrested number of ahwazi youngs due to their activities in the field of promoting Arab culture and organising cultural events to preserve the Arabic identity in the face of Iranian government systematic forced assimilation of Arabs in Iran, as well as civil activities such as the assistance of the victims of the floods that hit (Alahwaz).
Despite of the high number of unemployment between educated young Ahwazis and lack of personals in the education section in the Ahwaz. in last governmental work appointment in the section of education in Al-ahwaz only less than 10 percent of assigned personals were from arabs .
respecting the language right is cornerstone concern the minorities all around the world and in iran as well.
iran has only one official language. And no mother tongue in the education system is allowed. Even activist from all minority groups have subjected to persecution for demanding the implementation of the article 15 in iranian constitution which refer to right of minorities to study in their language.
Speaking in arabic in class room between students are forbidden, last month a teacher punished to girls in the classroom for speaking arabic.
So not only studying in mother tongue is forbidden , not only speaking in arabic lead to discrimination and punishment , but even teachers from locals areas are not appointed in the region.
Administration of education this years past new regulations for teachers. According to those regulations minorities can not be a teacher, because they speak Persian with accent from the mother tongue.
so in the end, unless this centric , nation state governing change to inclusive , decentralized system the discrimination of the minorities will continue and will escalate which nobody can predict how will finish. we young of ahwazi arabs aside other minorities in iran hope for better future base on mutual respect.