Amnesty International has called for an independent investigation into the unlawful killings of Baloch fuel porters in Iran.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards unlawfully used lethal force against unarmed fuel porters near the city of Saravan, in Sistan and Baluchestan province, on 22 February, flagrantly violating the absolute prohibition on the arbitrary deprivation of the right to life under international law, said Amnesty International on Tuesday.
Testimony from eyewitnesses and victims’ families, coupled with video footage geolocated and verified by the organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab, confirms that on that day, Revolutionary Guards, stationed at Shamsar military base, used live ammunition against a group of unarmed fuel porters from Iran’s impoverished Baluchi minority causing several deaths and injuries.
“By opening fire on a group of unarmed people, Iranian security forces have displayed a callous disregard for human life. There must be urgent, independent criminal investigations into these unlawful killings, in line with international law and standards. Anyone against whom there is sufficient admissible evidence must be prosecuted in a fair trial, without resorting to the death penalty,” said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
The detailed statement by Amnesty International further noticed said fuel porters, called “Soukhtbar” in Persian, generally live in extreme poverty in Sistan and Baluchestan province. They try to earn a living by selling fuel in border villages in Pakistan. While some have an official license to transport fuel, the vast majority do so irregularly through peripheral border routes and report that they are asked to pay regular bribes to Revolutionary Guards officials who control the border crossings.
Every year, Iranian security forces fatally shoot or injure dozens of fuel porters in the name of confronting “fuel smuggling”.
Iran’s Baluch minority face entrenched discrimination that curtails their access to education, health care, employment, adequate housing, and political office.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column] [/et_pb_row] [/et_pb_section]