UN Special Rapporteur said Thursday that Kurds have been historically repressed in Iran, adding that their fundamental rights are still being denied in the country.
Kurdish woman #Mahsa# (Zhina) Amini was arrested by Iran's morality police on September 13 for allegedly wearing the hijab, compulsory in Iran following the 1979 revolution, in an improper manner. She died in custody three days later. There have been nationwide protests in the country since then, especially in the Kurdish-majority province of Kurdistan in western Iran.
Javaid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur, told Rudaw’s Majeed Gly during a press conference on Thursday that he reported at least 66 deaths in his latest report earlier this month. He said that the oppression of Kurds in the country is not something new.
“On the subject of Kurdistan and the issue from Kurdistan, as you know, Kurdish people historically and in contemporary terms have been denied their fundamental human rights. And I will just give you one example: Zhina is a Kurdish name but she was not allowed to use that name on the national register because the state does not allow Kurdish identity or Kurdish expression in any shape or form,” Rehman said.
“So, this is just a simple example of the repression which the Iranian state uses against the Kurdish people and in fact against other ethnic minorities. And Kurdish people have been denied so many rights, starting from the right to identity, the right to language, the right to represent themselves, the right to expression,” he added.
He noted that this coupled with the death of Amini “ignited” the recent protests.
Large crowds of people gathered on Wednesday and marched towards Amini's grave marking 40 days since her death in police custody in Tehran despite warnings and measures taken by security forces, with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) allegedly forcing the Amini family to say that they would not hold an event on the day.
Chants of Woman, life, freedom, Death to the dictator and Down with traitors echoed at the burial site in Aichi cemetery in the Kurdish city of #Saqqez#, Amini's hometown and the origin of the weeks-long nationwide protests. Security forces also reportedly fired tear gas at protesters in Saqqez.