Khuzestan Needs Water

Khuzestan Needs Water

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Middle East Matters Organization started this petition to United Nations and

People in Khuzestan, a province in southwestern Iran, are protesting over water shortages that have greatly affected households, agriculture, and livestock farming. 

Khuzestani residents have said on social media that they've never truly had drinkable tap water. So they've been either buying their water or taking it from the rivers, many of which have now dried up.

The government of Iran has responded with heavy-handed suppression of protests. 

According to NetBlocks, there's been a significant regional disruption to mobile internet services in Iran beginning July 15. Internet slowdowns or blackouts have been reported across the province. Despite the internet restrictions, numerous videos have come out of Khuzestan in the past week showing shotguns, teargas, and batons targeted at protestors.

Safe drinking water and sanitation are indispensable to sustain life and health, and fundamental to the dignity of all. 

"International human rights law entails specific obligations related to access to safe drinking water which requires States to ensure everyone’s access to a sufficient amount of safe drinking water for personal and domestic uses, defined as water for drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, and personal and household hygiene. These obligations also require States to progressively ensure access to adequate sanitation, as a fundamental element for human dignity and privacy, but also to protect the quality of drinking-water supplies and resources."

Therefore, the Iranian government should be held accountable for the inability to manage water resources and to provide safe and sufficient drinking water to the residents of Khuzestan province, as well as decades of mismanagement and poor planning that have led to water scarcity in the province, costing the people of the province their farms, livestock, lands, and lives. Furthermore, the Iranian government should also be held accountable for the lack of water management in other areas of the country. 

The international community must urge Iran to prioritize water management by reaching out to scientists, researchers, and experts who’ve been studying Iran’s water issues for years. 

The Iranian government must stop all forms of violence against protesters and instead hear their demands. 

The following are a list of demands that the Iranian government must meet in response to recent water shortage protests: 

  • Put scientists, researchers, and experts in leadership positions to develop a long-term sustainable water management plan for the whole country. 
  • The government must take responsibility for their mismanagement and poor planning.
  • As Khuzestan residents have rarely had access to drinkable tap water, a long-term plan should be initiated to systematically improve the water conditions and access to safe drinking water all over the province. 
  • People in Khuzestan should be compensated for the loss of jobs or farming products.  
  • The government is obligated to ensure the safety and security of the protestors who are peacefully protesting for the lack of water. 
  • The province deserves to benefit from its rich oil reserves.
  • Iranian resources have to be spent on the Iranian people first. 
  • An immediate and permanent stop to transferring water from Khuzestan to other regions
  • The use of force should be banned in peaceful public protests. 
  • The Iranian government should be held responsible for the murders of innocent protestors who were peacefully demanding access to drinking water. 
    • Hadi Bahmani, Mohammad Kroshat, Mohammad Abdollahi, Ghasem Kheziri  Mostafa Naeimavi, Farzad Farisat, Meisam Atresh, 
  • A plan on increasing employment in the region to end the long-running unemployment crisis.
  • Immediate end to the internet blackout and a permanent end to the use of kill switches.
  • Immediately disclose the identities of all the civilians that have been arrested and release arrested protestors.
  • The prohibition of warfare vehicles such as tanks used against protestors 

We, the undersigned, urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to improve the water management of Khuzestan and every province in Iran. We also urge the United Nations, the European Union, and the rest of the international community to speak up against the Iranian government's accountability and killing of innocent protesters demanding access to drinking water, fair treatment of protestors, and an immediate end to internet blackouts.

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