The Statement by the Cooperation Committee in relation to Mother Language
South Azerbaijanis are embracing the International Mother Language Day this year with evermore greater enthusiasm. The popular demand for the reinstatement of the official status of Azerbaijani Turkic is going from strength to strength and the outspoken activists are closing inch by inch for a popular action.
Today, in South Azerbaijan the realisation for the vital role of mother language in the cultural and social institutions is clearer than any time in the past. The issue is not anymore on the importance of mother language as this has become a norm. Instead the emerging discourse is becoming ever more focussed on why anymore delay is not acceptable and any delay is associated with unforgiveable felony of the authorities.
Today, the nation of Azerbaijan in South Azerbaijan has realised the adverse impacts arising from the lost role of mother language from their social and they fully realise that this is inflicting untold irreparable damages to social discourse, their sense of identity, their elocution and their psychology, as well as to their economical and social order. They know that without mother language the social cohesion is undermined. It is mother language that is capable of knitting together a close social cohesion. They know that, the Iranian experiment with Farsi has been disastrous.
Azerbaijani Turks know by experience the need for protection, as embodied by international conventions and human rights. They embrace these and know the inadequacy of the Iranian legislation violated by the Iranian government. Article 2 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration stated in 1948 that
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
Similarly Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (adopted on 16 December 1966 (http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx) states that:
“In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.”
Further protections have been expressed by:
Yet Azerbaijan Turks are deprived systemically of their national rights including their linguistic rights and freedom as enjoyed by Farsi-speakers nationality within Iran.
Still in this day and age, the Islamic Republic of Iran stokes the fire of racism in Iran with systemic racist policies and on this it inherits the tradition from the Pahlavid times. The Iranian authorities wage the war of double standards within the country. One the one hand, they promote the European mindset on language, the development of Farsi, elocution. Also they promote learning a second, third or fourth language. Yet the nations within the their native land proclaimed by Iran are subjected to the ‘other’ standards, which comprises untold restrictions against the wellbeing of their culture and linguistic rights in their mother language.
Today, European countries have no problems with mother languages as every ethnic group is entitled to their mother language and beyond this appropriate resources have been channeled to education in multiple languages in schools. To this end, examples include: Finland, Britain, Sweden,
When considering Iran, it is regrettable that racist policies have infested the country and the culture. The cultures and the identities of non-Farsi speaking nationalities and ethnic groups have been pushed to the verge of extinction. The rights of these peoples have been politicised and often made a taboo of them. The demand for national rights and the right of education in mother language have been consistently ignored. Those who are sincere in seeking a solution for this inexplicable suppression of the right in mother language were consistently ignored. One example to illustrate this suffices to expose the mindset of the Iranian authorities. Some of the petitions lodged by South Azerbaijanis in the first decade of 2000 were collected in (http://tomarlar.blogspot.co.uk/). The Iranian authorities did not respond to any single one of these petitions.
Today, we South Azerbaijanis need to collectively consider that the national and cultural rights are under the auspices of international declarations and conventions. In particular the right to education in mother language is a natural right and may be regarded as sacred with undeniable justifications from social sciences and law, which are blessed by religions ethics and modern humanitarian principles and normally protected by constitutional legislations. It is simply the natural right of every individual to be engaged in discourses in mother languages, to express oneself and communicate in writing or any other media. Yet, the majority is deprived of this sacred right in Iran and these include: Azerbaijani Turks, Turkmens, Baluchis, Arabs, Kurds, Lors, Gileks, Qashqays and others. The majority in Iran are deprived of the right of education in mother language!
We, the activists of South Azerbaijani political institutions and parties, rally in support of the 21 February International Day of Mother Languages. We demand strict compliance with the right to education in mother language. We campaign for the condemnation of the Iranian racist system in accordance with international declarations and conventions. We appeal to you to campaign for and speak out against: