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 182 Kurdish couriers killed and injured on Iran's border with Iraqi Kurdistan in 14 months 

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182 Kurdish couriers killed and injured on Iran's border with Iraqi Kurdistan in 14 months  8.7.2012   

Kurdish couriers along the Iranian Kurdistan-Iraqi Kurdistan border carry cases of goods include alcohol to Iran. Photo: MEHR. See Related Links
July 8, 2012

BANAH, Iranian Kurdistan,— Since (March 21, 2011), around 182 couriers (people who carry goods on their back) have been killed and injured by the Iranian government forces along the border of Iranian Kurdistan region (Eastern Kurdistan and Iraq's Kurdistan region (Southern Kurdistan).

From reliable sources on the ground obtained by Kurdpa website, killing and injury of 182 Kurdish civilians in the Kurdish areas who had turned into the dangerous trade of couriers to earn a living due to lack of other employment opportunities in the Kurdish area of Iran.

Majority of the registered cases are reported from across the Iranian Kurdistan, with these reports being available on our website and others based on other reliable on-the-ground sources.

Due to lack of security for human rights activists and citizen reporters to cover all the incidents, the figures of those Kurdish couriers killed and injured could be much higher.

Why these couriers get murdered? On the whole, on-foot good couriers in Kurdistan borders get killed by indiscriminate shooting of various government forces operating in the areas or by mine explosions planted by government forces. Occasionally, in colder season, avalanches and bitter cold take the lives of some of these couriers.

Often, government forces ambush the caravan of couriers and fire live rounds indiscriminately without any prior warnings.

Recently, these forces have started wearing local costumes to mislead couriers, and while at close range , they start shooting at couriers randomly.

Iranian regime has heavily militarized the Kurdish areas; as a result, these areas are laden with mines that not only take the lives of many couriers, but also maim and kill dozens of region’s residents including shepherds, women and children.

Targeting vehicles belonging to Kurdish civilians by the regime forces in non-border areas under the pretext of carrying illegal goods is also another method to kill Kurdish civilians in Iran, an act which is not only contrary to regime’s own laws, but also often times, the targeted vehicles do not carry any goods.

Nuisance and hassling of residents of the border areas of Kurdistan by armed and intelligence institutions Aside from all the deprivations of the residents in these areas and lack of basic necessities and jobs, they get reprimanded by the security and intelligence institutions under the pretext of aiding Kurdish anti-regime opposition groups.

Summoning the residents to security centers and obtaining written undertaking from them to keep away from the border areas is another mean of exertion that is being imposed on the Kurdish residents which sets the stage for further indiscriminate shootings and killings.

Why choose courier trade in these areas On one hand, the mountainous landscape which makes agriculture production extremely difficult and under the excuse of presence of anti-regime elements on the other, neither private investment nor government has done anything to create job opportunities in this region.

One can argue that majority of the households in this region live way below the poverty line and choosing the courier trade is their last resort to earn a living.

Often, the couriers get paid very little for the heavy loads they carry on their back and the goods belong to powerful illegal smugglers. All the mentioned cases are widely available on our website in various news reports.

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