#Human Rights
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

We would like to draw your attention to the recent earthquake tragedy happened in North West of Iran (East Azerbaijan Province) on 11th of August 2012. Official reports of government indicate that 506 people were killed and about 5000 people were injured, about 100s of villages were totally or partially devastated.

As you may know, North West of Iran is the homeland of the ethnic Azerbaijani Turks, who are under relentless suppression by central government and are subjected to a forced assimilation to the majoritized Persian dominated racist policies. Iranian government has been systematically banning the language and culture of Azerbaijani Turks who consist of the minoritized majority of the people living in Iran with an estimated 35 million population.

Azerbaijani populated provinces are deprived of investments on economic and industrial sectors. At the same time, central government has been exploiting arbitrarily the rich underground recourses of this area, such as huge Sungun Copper mines. Literally, the Iranian government has left the area in poverty and destitute, even failing to return some of the benefits of these riches to the area.

The ongoing earthquake destruction is unusually large for its strength recorded only at 6.2 Richter. According to the experts, this devastation impact is due to non-standard and very poor construction of the buildings in the area. It is not difficult to be bewildered that Iran uses every resource to suppress South Azerbaijanis but has no program to modernize the region similar to other regions populated by the Persians.

The resilience of South Azerbaijanis immediately prevailed and provoked a commendable sense of solidarity to cope with the emerging trauma. However, the most shocking aspect of this natural catastrophe is the deliberate ignorance of the central government by not responding to the emergency. Incredibly, the news of the earthquake was not reflected in the main newspapers of the country such as Keyhan even one day after the earthquake. The revolutionary army of Iran even keeps stopping the people of the Azerbaijani regions responding to the emergency. The government also banned the foreign journalists to enter the area. The distribution of tents, food, drinks by the government had been extremely inadequate according to the locals.

The Iranian government not only has not helped fulfilling its obligation toward the victims of the earthquake but has been hampering and even preventing international help and even local help. This once again is a blatant example of discrimination of Iranian regime against ethnic Azerbaijani Turks.

The spontaneous response of Azerbaijani Turks, though fulfilled a vital role in minimizing the losses and has been facilitating the flow of the basic amenities so far, it is limited for lacking the right tools and equipment in their disposal for both the rescue of their loved ones and the minimization of their trauma. Once again, the post-incident response is left to the means of the ordinary citizens without the planning from Iranian authorities. This clearly indicates that the governance of the Iranian authorities in South Azerbaijan is not complying with the international norms and conventions. The social, economic and cultural affairs of South Azerbaijanis in the Islamic Republic of Iran are now a matter of urgent attention to be considered in an international platform.

The racist policies of the Iranian authorities towards non-Persian ethnic nations have a long history but have recently been intensified by Islamic Republic of Iran. This has alienated non-Persian ethnic nations and in particular ethnic Azerbaijani Turks.

We appeal to you to use your mandates for the protection of the victims of the ongoing the earthquake and demand that the Iranian authorities fulfill the national and international duties towards the South Azerbaijani victims.

We also appeal to you to be more vigilant towards the basic national and human rights of the 35 million ethnic Azerbaijani Turks, systematically violated by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We are disappointed by the absence of any significant international focus on the racist policies of Iranian government against ethnic Azerbaijani Turks.

We appeal to you to apply your mandates against Iran and prevent a definite tragedy in the near future.

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The Help Victims of earthquake in North West of Iran (South Azerbaijan) are left Helpless! petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was written by Atilla and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.