This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Plenary speech on the situation of ethnic minorities in Iran

Marietje Schaake − Mr President, it is safe to say that all Iranians are repressed and live in a culture of state-inflicted violence every day. This sad reality of the Islamic Republic must not be overshadowed by the negotiations on the nuclear issue, a new round of which starts early next week. In fact, for those who believe that change in Iran must and will come from the Iranian people themselves, human rights are a strategic issue and can never be traded in a zero-sum game in relation to the nuclear programme. This House highlights the situation of ethnic minorities specifically today. Minorities in Iran continue to be discriminated against and harassed. Peaceful demonstrators are imprisoned after trials which do not meet any international standards, and the treatment of prisoners in Iran is well known across the world for its harshness. Torture, rape and executions are common practices, which we continue to condemn on the basis of our belief in the universality of human rights. More importantly, however, we urge the Iranian authorities to stick to their own commitments, as stated in their constitution. Non-Persian women face double discrimination, as members of marginalised communities and as women in Iran facing laws which specifically limit their rights. We urge the Iranian authorities to free all activists who are currently imprisoned for their peaceful advocacy of minority rights and to respect the right of ethnic minorities to use their languages, in private or public, and in particular to guarantee education in these languages in accordance with the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.