Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group Support for Black Americans
By: Dr. Amir Sharifi
Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group (KHRAG) expresses its utmost outrage at the horrific murder of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman, who for 8 minutes and 46 seconds tortured him to death while ignoring his repeated pleas and cries of “ I can’t breathe.” The brutal murder was not an isolated example. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others are parts of a disturbing legacy and brutality of institutional racism, which is integral to the U.S and colonial history.
The tragic event is an example of recurrent history in many racialized communities in the U.S and throughout the world. For Kurds, discrimination is an everyday reality as we are both deprived of civil, socio-cultural, and economic rights; we are often subjected to political oppression and exclusion as African Americans. The Floyd’s tragedy has offered the world an opportunity to see and find ways to eradicate the real roots of racism and lay the foundation for a new framework of fundamental human rights for ethnic and indigenous communities. No democracy is indeed possible without freedom from discrimination. In the words of Martin Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Kurdish Americans are participating in the anti-discrimination global movement through social media feeds, rallies, messages, tweets, posts, artwork, and vigils. We are actively connecting with African Americans. Like them we have experienced extrajudicial and public executions; during the same week that Floyd was murdered, a young man, Çakan was stabbed to death in a park for singing a song in Kurdish in Turkey. It was again during the same week that Turkish forces demolished the Celadet Ali Badirkhan Library as another reminder that reading and writing in Kurdish is still a cardinal political crime in Turkey. It was in the same week that the Security Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran publicly executed two Kurdish border kulbars (porters) not to mention the routine execution of religious and ethnic minorities in Iranian prisons.
Dr. Amir SharifiKurdish Americans support “Black Lives Matter” and stand for racial and ethnic equity; we uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and insist that it be applied to all racialized and ethnicized communities in the U.S and throughout the world. Only a local anti-discrimination campaign and a growing global peaceful protest such as the one we are witnessing these days can address and redress indignities, humiliations, and marginalization of oppressed peoples. While we mourn George Flyod’s tragic death, we all rise in solidarity to condemn and eradicate institutional violence and racism as a crime against humanity.
Dr. Amir Sharifi
Co-Director of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group
Statement by a coalition of six Kurdish human rights organizations on the eleventh presidential election of the Islamic republic of Iran
June 7, 2013
STATEMENT BY A COALITION OF SIX KURDISH HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS ON THE ELEVENTH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Based upon article Twenty-One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights each individual has the right to take part in the governing of his country, either directly or through a chosen representative in an open and free election. And thus people’s will becomes the foundation of the state. This foundation must be based on legitimate elections, divorced of all discrimination, because universal suffrage is the right of all citizens.
Based upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international laws universal suffrage is indisputable, inalienable, integral, and non-discriminatory. Thus it belongs to everyone in all parts of the world. Therefore no one can be denied this right on account of their geographical location, race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality, religious affiliations, orientation, or any other form of identity. Hence no one can claim superiority above others.
We believe that participating in a free election, based on standards set by international and human rights measures, is the right of every Iranian citizen.
Based upon article Twelve and article 115 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran only believers of the state’s official religion or faith, i.e. Islamic religion of the Shiite Jafari Asna Ashari or believers of the 12 Imams are allowed to become the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This constitutes the majority of Iranians, including Sunni Muslims, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and followers of faiths such as Baha’is, Yaresans, and so forth whose rights have been taken away and stepped upon.
In the past thirty-four years of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s rule the candidacy of women, who constitute about half of Iran’ population, has also been banned by the Guardian Council and all the regime officials because the Islamic constitution has determined the president’s gender to be male.
And since the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s theocracy constantly prevent the candidacy of many individuals based on their level of personal favor, the basic rights of many other citizens are trampled upon as well.
The extent of the Guardian Council’s elimination process has reached an unprecedented level and they are now even filtering within the regime, purging any candidate center of their positions. They are dictating that only a select eight candidates be allowed to run for office.
It ought to be noted that within the last thirty-four years the Islamic Republic of Iran has proven that it has no regard for international principles of democracy and human rights and has constantly been condemned by the Council or Commission of Human Rights of the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, The International Federation for Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders, and other reputable international organizations.
In addition the systematic massacres, oppression, and discrimination against Kurds and other nationalities residing in Iran, the suppression of women and children’s rights, censorship of media outlets and any journalistic activities, the arrest and imprisonment of human right activists and journalists, the torture and harm of voices of dissent and intellectuals has been going on since the Islamic Republic of Iran hijacked power in Iran.
More recently a new all-encompassing wave of oppression has overtaken Iran. The outright massacre of Kurdish merchants who work along the borders, the imprisonment of activists who defend the right to use their mother tongue, incarceration of lawyers, and even former high ruling allies of the regime are all part of this new age of brutality.
We, the coalition of Kurdish Human Rights Organizations, deem the Eleventh presidential elections of the Islamic Republic of Iran an orchestrated, unfair, unjust, and undemocratic imposed election, which is incompatible with international principles.
We believe that participation in this election is not a way to engage in the political process and ones right to be involved in the governing of the state. Rather participation in a sham election orchestrated by the Islamic Republic of Iran is taking part in the legitimization of an undemocratic system.
-Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan-Europe Commission
-Kurdish Human Rights association-Europe
-Kurdocide Watch Chak (East Kurdistan)
-Kurdish American Committee for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran (KACDHI)
-Kurdish Women Rights Organization
-Campaign Defending the Civil and Political Prisoners