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Iran: Kurdish Prisoners

Volume 704: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have made to the Government of Iran, and at the United Nations, regarding the number of Iranian Kurdish prisoners on hunger strike. [HL5377]

We are aware that a number of detained Iranian Kurds have been carrying out a co-ordinated hunger strike since the end of August to protest against their treatment in detention—for example, lack of access to lawyers and families, the use of solitary confinement and unfair trials. We have not yet made specific representations to the Iranian Government about this, but the issue is due to be raised in the next EU human rights demarche in Tehran. The UK and the EU are very concerned about the treatment of ethnic minorities in Iran, including increasing discrimination against Iranian Kurds. In recent months large numbers of Kurdish citizens have been detained and Kurdish rights defenders have received lengthy prison sentences and, in some cases, death sentences for peaceful activities in support of their rights. It is particularly worrying that vague national security charges are increasingly being applied to human rights activists. The EU issued a public declaration on 6 August stating that it was “greatly disturbed” by the infringement of rights of Iranian Kurds and the numerous human rights violations against journalists, trade unionists, students and human rights defenders belonging to Iran's Kurdish minority. The statement called on Iran to fulfil its human rights obligations towards all Iranian citizens irrespective of ethnic origin.