Ahwazi human rights activists have reported the murder of a three-year-old girl, Raghad Abbas (pictured), who died instantly on being shot through the heart as she sat in the back of her parents’ car when Iranian security forces opened fire indiscriminately on the vehicle on Monday October 24th. Her father, Abbas Hassan Mashal Al-Sari, aged 41, who was driving the car, and her mother, Zahor Abdul-Sada Al-Sari, were also critically wounded in the shooting, which took place in the Alawi neighbourhood, a western suburb of the regional capital, Ahwaz. Neither of her parents were armed or involved in any illegal activities, and no reason has yet been given for the attack, nor has any apology been issued for the murder of the little girl. Immediately after the brutal slaying, the security officers responsible dragged the injured, newly bereaved father, Abbas Hassan, from the vehicle and arrested him as his traumatized, also injured wife looked on, and as their daughter’s dead body sat in the back seat, before taking him to an undisclosed location.
The attack on the family’s vehicle was apparently part of another ongoing brutal crackdown by regime security forces on Ahwazi Arabs.
As in November 2015, hundreds of Ahwazis protested after an unarmed 17-year-old Ahwazi boy, Ali Jalali, was shot dead during a raid by regime security forces on a popular street market in the city’s Al Nadha neighbourhood. A number of other stall-holders and shoppers were also injured during the raid on November 9. Jalali was shot at point-blank range as he attempted to prevent the regime personnel from confiscating his food stall and the foodstuffs he was selling, which were his family’s sole source of income.
It came shortly after peaceful demonstrations by residents of the Al Nadha neighbourhood over the Iranian regime’s closure of popular local Arab restaurants and cafés in the area. The eateries, which were popular with tourists as well as locals, served traditional Arab foods like falafel, as well as local delicacies. Regime forces routinely arrest and terrorize Ahwazi Arabs to intimidate the people into silence and end anti-regime activism and protest over the apartheid-style oppression imposed on the people.
The torture and killing of children, domestically and regionally, is not unusual for the Iranian regime, which has disregarded and violated the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) since the Islamic Republic’s inception in 1979. The UNCRC, first adopted by the U.N. in 1959, is primarily concerned with four aspects of children’s rights: participation by children in decisions affecting them; protection of children against discrimination and all forms of neglect and exploitation; prevention of harm to them; and provision of assistance to children for their basic needs (Children’s Rights: International Law).
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 25 (2) states that ‘’motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.”
The Iranian regime’s arbitrary killing of little Raghad Abbas and its other murders, torture and persecution of Ahwazi, Iraqi, Syrian and other children is not unusual. Such arbitrary murder of Ahwazi and other children must be condemned by the U.N and international human rights organizations in order to end the impunity which allows the regime to continue perpetrating such horrific crimes.
Rahim Hamid is an Ahwazi Arab freelance journalist based in the USA.