Last Thursday, Zara Mohammadi, a volunteer teacher in Kurdish language, with two of her co-workers (Edris Minbari and rebwar Minbari) have been arrested by the Security Forces of Islamic Republic of Iran, due to teaching Kurdish children writing and reading in their mother tongue. As the news says, on Saturday both of Ms. Zara’s assistants set free, but till now nothing is known about the teacher herself.

 Using mother tongue in Education and Study has been mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identified as a necessary and essential right. As well, at the Universal Declaration of Mother Tongue for the year 1996, including 52 articles, in detail clarified supporting Minorities’ Language and identified the duty of the state towards it. And also at Jironay Manifesto of (PEN) International Organization issued on (May 13th, 2013) (Goolan 23rd), considered it as a necessary and legitimate right. It is the duty of (PEN) International Organization and other Centers that defend Language and Cultural Rights to protect them. But unfortunately in Iran a Teacher woman volunteered to teach mother tongue has been arrested since last Thursday and still no one knows where she is.

Zara Mohammed Sarawala, 29 years of age, living in Sna in East Kurdistan / Iran, obtained Master’s Degree at Geopolitical Dept. in Birjand University in Iran. Zara is known as a teacher in the Kurdish language in East Kurdistan. Zara with the cooperation of Nozhin Council in Sna city and the villages around it taught hundreds of Kurdish children writing and reading in their mother tongue, while this is not a responsibility of a person but a responsibility of the government according to the Universal Declarations.   

In chapter 3,4 article four of Universal Declaration in connection with national, linguistic and religious minorities’ rights states that:

3. States should take appropriate measures, wherever possible, so that persons belonging to minorities have adequate opportunities to learn their mother tongue.

4. States should, where appropriate, take measures in the field of education, in order to encourage knowledge of the history, traditions, language and culture of the minorities existing within their territory.

We have to say that using mother tongue in education and study is one of the most key rights for human being and it is not acceptable to be neglected or postponed. Each human being has their own right to learn by their own mother tongue. Psychologists think that humans are more emotional when they are connected with their own mother tongue and in educational situations they can express their feelings and emotions better with it.

Committee of language & Translation Rights

Kurd (PEN) Center