dissabte, 15 de juny de 2019

Iran: detention of Kurdish mother tongue volunteer teacher

PEN International strongly condemns the detention of Zara Mohammadi, a Kurdish language teacher, since her arrest at her home on 23 May 2019, by Iranian security agents who confiscated her phone and computer. Mohammadi has been arrested along with her two colleagues, Edris Minbari and Rebwar Minbari, due to their volunteer activities in teaching Kurdish children writing and reading in their mother tongue. On 25 May, both Minbari and Minbari have been released, however Mohammadi was held incommunicado for a few days. She has been then transferred to a prison in Sina where she is currently detained.
“The Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee of PEN International deplores the arrest by Iranian authorities of Ms. Zara Mohammadi, a volunteer teacher in Kurdish language, and demands her immediate and unconditional release. State authorities in Iran and elsewhere must understand that diversity of cultures and languages is an asset for any country and that the repression of the linguistic rights of minorities is a sign of the weakness of the state concerned and an attempt to stifle freedom and basic human rights.” – Simona Škrabec, Chair of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee of PEN International.
In relation to Mohammadi’s arrest, a statement issued by Kurdish PEN on 30 May 2019 states that: "Mother tongue in education and study is one of the key rights for human beings and it is not acceptable to be denied, neglected or postponed. All human beings must have the right to learn and be taught in their mother tongue as it is believed that people can express themselves and achieve much better progress when they are taught in their mother language."
Zara Mohammedi Sarawala, 29 years-old, is an inhabitant of Sina/Sanandaj, an Iranian Kurdish city. She holds a Master’s Degree in Geopolitical field from Birjand University in Iran. Mohammedi, in cooperation with Nozhin Council in Sanandaj city and the villages around it, taught hundreds of Kurdish children reading and writing in their mother tongue, while the Iranian authorities continue to impose restrictions on learning the Kurdish language.
PEN International has been at the forefront of the campaign to ensure the protection and promotion of linguistic diversity. The Girona Manifesto, a tool to aid the dissemination and implementation of the Universal Declaration on Linguistic Rights (UDLR), was developed by PEN International’s Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee in May 2011, fifteen years after leading a coalition of civil-society and international organisations (including UNESCO) developed the UDLR at the 1996 World Conference on Linguistic Rights in Barcelona.
To read more about the Girona Manifesto click here.
For further information, please contact Nael Georges, PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN | Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 | Email: Nael.Georges@pen-international.org

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