February 28, 2024

The story of violations of human rights in Kurdistan is full of sorrows. This sorrowful story, this open wound, was denied for a very long time, either because it was labeled as a lie and victimization or because sometimes, it was narrated in a way that was too heroic and vague and was hard to believe for the audience. Somewhere on this disastrous land, for many years, people have lived with suppression, prison, torture and executions as part of their daily lives; for numerous reasons, but foremost because of their inevitable resistance. More heartbreaking is that they were accustomed to screaming in silence. Even worse, they were used to hearing the cheers coming from the opposition of the center, which itself is wounded by the suppressive system.The suppression of the margin areas and small cities was not part of the opposition of the center, i.e., Tehran. The real tragedy was the silence in favor of the endless doubts by the movements and people who were so- called human rights activists and human rights organizations, and it was their duty to report human rights violations. Those who followed their political opinions to lead them to human rights activism were an odd kind of human rights reporters. The watchers were considered “human” if it was one of their own.Thus, defending the rights of victims of human rights violations was subjected to the victims’ political interest, their way of resistance, and their identity, and specifically the picture that the reporter had in mind of the way the victim thought about territorial integrity. This is how they decided whether the rights of a “human” were violated and needed to be exposed and reported to the public or only when “an armed secessionist” had been punished.In this view, a victim of human rights violation in Iran was an
imprisoned political or civil rights activist who had peacefully opposed the whole or parts of the ruling system. This victim could not be Kurdish, Arab or Baluch and always, Iran’s territorial integrity has been the red line. Specifically, Kurdish and Baluch people and, in general, “the discordant others” of the imaginary Iranian political society are not considered humans with basic rights in this political take on human rights. For many years, this view has been the guide for the majority of human right reporters and the political/human rights activists of Iran. It has been a beacon for political positioning for many political forces of the opposition and even for most of the independent media based outside of Iran.