Digital Theses Archive


Tesi etd-01162017-092722

Type of thesis
Ethnic Minority Rights in Iran:Defining Legal Deficiencies and Their Impacts on Ethnic Minorities Rights
Scientific disciplinary sector
SCIENZE GIURIDICHE - Individual Person and Legal Protections
Membro Prof. WOELK, JENS
  • Constitution
  • Ethnic minorities
  • Iran
  • language
  • Rights
Exam session start date
The research discusses the rights of ethnic minorities in Iran. The research deals with hidden minority challenges in Iran. Although there have been several episodes of bloody conflicts between ethnic groups and central governments during the last decades, there has not been sufficient attention addressed to the legal analysis dealing with topics related to minority groups in Iran. It can be said that the pursuit of legal remedies and theoretic debates has so far been very restricted. This phenomenon occurs despite the evidence that suggest the existence of deep gaps as regards the implementation of the legal principles on the practical level. Among some of the controversial examples include equality, non-discrimination and the concept of tolerance. <br>The research begins with a short overview of the legal norms that govern the area of ethnic minorities in Iran. It is evident that since the constitutional revolution in 1907 until the present time, the issue has not received adequate attention from legislators. For example, until the second Constitution was adopted before the revolution of 1979, the terms minority and ethnic diversity were not reflected in the Constitution. Even after the 1979 revolution and several changes that were made in laws afterwards, the requirement of the Article 19 of the Constitution that foresees equality of the Iranian people and ethnic and tribal diversity, has not been implemented completely. <br>The research results of the project have demonstrated that the issue of language and linguistic policy play a crucial role. Iran is a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual country. The notion of linguistic plurality stems from Article 15 of the Iranian Constitution. Controversially to the Article 15, the Persian language has been reaffirmed as the official language in the following wording:<br>“Persian (Farsi) is the official language and script of the Iranian people. Documents, correspondence and official texts and textbooks shall be in this language and script but the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and media and the teaching of literature in schools, in addition to Persian is free.”<br><br><br>The issue of minorities has been one of the most challenging ones throughout the history of the previous century. It still continues to have a special place in the study of ethnic rights. The research provides an analysis of several problematic questions such as the existence and recognition of alleged rights, right to mother tongue, also public and official use of the mother tongue. Assuming that these kinds of rights do exist, it raises further questions whether a state is obliged to support all languages equally in a multi-lingual country. In case the answer to these questions is positive, it leads to further debate on what kind of measures should be considered to deal with the shortcomings of legal norms. In order to investigate the rights of ethnic minorities in Iran a theoretical analysis on the foundations of the rights of minorities is performed. The research is conducted by exploring the legal history as well as legal political theories of minority rights. <br>There is a lack and insufficiency of theoretical bases, definitions and recognition of ethnic minorities in Iranian law. The research aims to analyze these definitions and models dealing with ethnic minority protection through comparative study and analysis. Another purpose is to examine the possibility of pure legal transportation of these notions in the legal system. For example, although there are some similarities as regards ethnic and linguistic diversity when comparing Iranian legal system with European models but at the same time there are crucial differences. These differences can be divided into different categories such as political and legal. The political debate which embraces the geopolitical situation of Iran as a Middle East Islamic country is not addressed in the research. The legal differences of the Iranian legal structure in comparison to other countries, mainly stemming from the historic background, should however, not be ignored in this study. The 1979 Islamic revolution and emergence of political Islam which resulted in creation of Islamic Republic of Iran (which is a combination of semi-modern structures of modernization period in Iran during Pahlavi dynasty and a special reading of Shia Islam) have made it more challenging to conduct a comparative analysis of this legal structure to the western legal systems. This is why the pure legal transplantation is not adequate and thus, it is necessary to study legal historical and sociological reasons behind the existing system.<br>The first part of the research consists of an introduction to the figures and facts of ethnic minorities in Iran. The second chapter discusses the definition of the term minority in the international level. The third chapter analyses the problematic issue of language in the legal context. The fourth chapter discusses the situation of ethnic minorities in Iran in a comprehensive method based on domestic and international obligations and standards. The last chapter discusses federalism as a possible solution to ethnic minority problem in Iran. <br>