Concluding Observation Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
E/C.12/IRN/CO/2 para 29
Full recommendation:
The Committee recommends that the State party take steps to ensure that ethnic minorities have
the opportunity to receive education in their mother tongue, in addition to Farsi.
Assessment using Impact Ira’s Human Rights Indicators1
Article 15 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran identifies Persian as the official
language but permits the use of “regional and ethnic languages in the press, the mass media, and
the teaching of their literature at schools, alongside the Persian language…”.2 However, the
restrictive language of Article 15 does not protect fully the right of minorities to learn and teach
in their mother tongue. Although Article 101 of the Charter on Citizens’ Rights recognizes the
right of citizens to learn, use and teach their own local language and dialect,3 the Charter is not
legally binding.
Despite these restricted legal guarantees, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in
the Islamic Republic of Iran raised concerns about reports of Kurdish, Ahwazi Arab and
Azerbaijani-Turk (or Azeri-Turk) lacking access to education in their mother tongues. 4 5 These
concerns were echoed by the U.N Secretary General, 6 7 8 noting reports indicating that members
of ethno-linguistic minorities, including the Azeri community as well as Arabs, were being
denied the opportunity to teach their language in schools. 9 The reported state-imposed ban on
Azeri-Turkish being taught in school would go some way in explaining such struggle. 10 The
Ministry of Education has reportedly circulated reminders to teachers and school administrators
that the use of Kurdish and Turkish languages inside public schools is forbidden.11 Furthermore,

1

ESCR.13.2.S.2; ESCR.13.1.S.3; ESCR.13.2.P.3; ESCR.13.1.O.3; ESCR.13.2.O.3
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, English translation, https://irandataportal.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/constitutionenglish-1368.pdf
3
Charter on Citizens’ Rights, English translation, http://president.ir/en/96865
4
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, January 2020,
https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/IR/Report_of_the_Special_Rapporteur_on_the_situation_of_human_rights_in_the_
Islamic_Republic_of_IranA4361.pdf
5
See more : Association for the human rights of the Azerbaijani people in Iran,
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CRC/Shared%20Documents/IRN/INT_CRC_NGO_IRN_19735_E.pdf
6
IRNA News, www.irna.ir/news/83404283/ (in Farsi).
7
Report of the U.N. Secretary General, January 2020, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/IR/Report_of_the_SecretaryGeneral_on_the_situation_of_human_rights_in_the_Islamic_Republic_of_IranA4320.pdf
8
Report of the U.N. Secretary General, January 2020, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/IR/Report_of_the_SecretaryGeneral_on_the_situation_of_human_rights_in_the_Islamic_Republic_of_IranA4320.pdf
9
Report of the U.N. Secretary General, August 2019, https://undocs.org/en/A/74/273
10
Center for Human Rights in Iran, https://iranhumanrights.org/2019/03/irans-intelligence-ministry-slaps-azeri-rights-activistwith-new-charges-claim-hes-organizing-protests-from-prison/
11
Minority Groups, https://minorityrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Rights-Denied-Violations-against-ethnic-andreligious-minorities-in-Iran.pdf
2

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