April 12, 2013 | The Justice for Iran (JFI) team offers its deepest condolences to the victims and survivors of the recent earthquake that hit the province of Bushehr (southern Iran) on Tuesday, April 9. According to reports, four aftershocks followed the 6.1 magnitude earthquake and a slightly lower magnitude earthquake hit the region the next day. Reports indicate that the quakes have resulted in the destruction of one village as well as, at least, 37 deaths and more than 800 individuals suffering from injuries.

JFI encourages the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to ensure the people affected by the earthquakes receive appropriate care and are provided the proper support to rebuild their homes and properties. JFI urges the authorities, to protect the rights of all earthquake victims regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds. According to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, it is the state responsibility to provide an adequate standard of living for everyone, including adequate food, clothing and housing.

Kaki-earthquake-2In August 2012, after several earthquakes hit the province of East Azerbaijan, a region consisting mainly of Azerbayejani people, the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran were slow to respond despite the hundreds of deaths and complete destruction of villages. Additionally, the security forces violently arrested more than 30 volunteers who had set up a relief camp containing food and shelter supplies for the earthquake victims. Reportedly 20 of the volunteers, who are mainly human rights activists, were issued prison sentences. In an initial response to protests by the international community, the authorities of the Islamic Republic claimed that those arrested were not relief workers but rather criminals or “spies” working for foreign media channels. Months after the earthquakes in Azerbaijan, people in the region continue to struggle to rebuild their lives due to the failure by the authorities to provide adequate care.

JFI urges the international community to help ensure Iranian authorities protect and respect the rights of relief volunteers. JFI recommends that the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran take every step to avoid a culture of impunity and practices involving corruption while restoring order and welfare of citizens in the affected region.

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