Open Letter: 42 Years of Arbitrary Policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran Depriving 30 Million Azerbaijanis of the Right of Education in Azerbaijani
We congratulate you and every individual in the world for being able to be nurtured by education in mother language and more so to celebrate International Mother Language Day.
Our Non-Governmental Organisation, ArcDH, registered in France in 2010, is writing to you concerning some 30 million Azerbaijanis in Iran, who have been deprived of education in their mother language, Azerbaijani Turkish, by the Islamic Republic of Iran for 42 years. The Iranian government even imprisons Azerbaijani cultural activists, who strive to keep their mother language alive. Our voice, reflecting some 30 million Azerbaijanis in Iran, is still to be heard by the world community.
Undoubtedly, you will speak on the essential role of mother language in the delivery of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The direct role of the mother language in the delivery of SDG1 to SDG12 is vital. Lucky are those individuals, who have been nurtured by their mother language and can communicate properly to create the required level of interconnectivity for a sustainable present and a more sustainable future. Lucky is the major proportion of the world population endowed with the right to education in mother language. But who will speak out for still a significant proportion of mankind deprived of the right to education in mother language? Can the 17 SDGs be delivered without an equitable linguistic inclusion?
In September 2020, we wrote to you concerning the commencement of the academic years in Iran and informed you that Iranian authorities most adamantly deny the fundamental right to education in Azerbaijani Turkish in Iran. The Iranian authorities are flouting even more adamantly the legal instruments (both some legislations in Iran and international conventions) for the right to education in Azerbaijani Turkish.
Some of the facts are that Iranian authorities have imprisoned arbitrarily Azerbaijani activists who were celebrating International Mother Language Day at their private residence (they were not allowed to do so in public halls). Most of these activists were imprisoned under various pretexts and the remaining ones are Messrs Alirza FARSHI, Hemid MANAFI, Behnam SHEYKHI, Tohid Amir MOMENI and Keyanush ASLANI, who were celebrating the International Mother Language Day. Similarly, Mr. Abbas LISANI has been imprisoned several times for defending his mother language rights and is now serving a 15-years sentence for that but stitched up for aburd accusations. These activists are protagonists of the right to education in mother language.
The sinister Iranian plan to attack mother languages is to require kids to join preschool at the age of 4 after the Sufficiency Test in Farsi. The Parliament approved this on 6 Feb. 2021. The kid who does not know Farsi, will not qualify for normal schools. This implies that all kids have to learn Farsi at the expense of their mother language!
The Iranian sinister policies on education are yet to be exposed to the world community. Whilst it is recognised that inclusive mother languages are essential for interconnectivity and the delivery of SDGs, Iranian policies break them. If the Iranian government is appeased by silence, who will speak out for the two-third of the population in Iran with non-Persian mother languages? We hope the UNESCO will speak out against Iranian educational policies that inclusive education and lifelong learning can only be ensured by the equitable status of mother languages.
The Iranian government is appeased without any effective criticism of their most sinister policies. The sustainability of Azerbaijani Turkish and other mother languages in Iran are under brutal attacks by the Iranian government. The suffering of some 30 million Azerbaijanis in Iran deprived of the right to education in their mother languages is getting worse and worse. We hope you will speak out against the sinister policies of the Iranian authorities. We thank you in advance for taking immediate, appropriate actions and open campaigns.
For and on behalf of ArcDH
Mrs. Jaleh Tabrizi