“Official Recognition of Our Mother Tongue: A Political Necessity” – Joint Statement of 6rang and 20 Other Organisations

International Mother Language Day provides an opportunity to demonstrate unity and solidarity among marginalised groups, including ethnic, sexual, and gender minorities. On this occasion, 6Rang and 20 ethnic and human rights organisations express deep concern over the infringement of ethnic minority rights and the restriction of education in mother languages. We underscore the imperative of fostering solidarity with other oppressed groups, including the LGBT+ community and religious minorities.

Since 1999, UNESCO has recognised February 21st as International Mother Language Day. Despite 25 years having passed since this declaration, and despite the efforts of human rights organisations globally to preserve languages and cultures, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not only deprived millions of ethnic individuals residing within its borders of their fundamental right to education in their mother tongue but has also hindered their unity against this inhumane policy through humiliation, distortion, intimidation, and division among various ethnic groups.

According to official state media reports 50,000 bilingual children were denied education in just the past year. The exclusion of Turk, Kurd, Arab, Baloch, Turkmen, Lur, and other ethnic children from education not only impedes their integration into society and deprives them of the material and cultural resources of the community, but also presents a serious barrier to their participation in the economic cycle and job market. Consider now if these children were also part of the LGBT+ community, and their gender identity or sexual orientation were stigmatised, robbing them of numerous social opportunities. Individuals from the LGBT+ community belonging to various ethnic groups continuously endure such discrimination and injustice on a daily basis.

The history of mother tongue deprivation and the perpetuation of this suffering spans more than the 45-year existence of the Islamic Republic of Iran and extends back to the Pahlavi monarchy era.

Regrettably, the few yet impactful steps taken by human rights organisations in recent years to counter these two governments’ systematic and institutionalised discrimination , elevating “the Persian heterosexual Shiite male” to the “standard” and “value,” have not resulted in fundamental changes.

The revolutionary uprising of Jina (Mahsa) Amini in 2022, despite the significant participation of women and people across Iran, has yet to prevent the dismissal of the demands of Iran’s ethnic minorities and the branding of anyone acknowledging these discriminations as “separatists.”

The rise in the arrest and execution of activists from Baloch, Arab, and Kurdish communities, coupled with the refusal to recognize the presence of the LGBT+ community in this revolution, underscores the imperative to address all layers of oppression.

6Rang, Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network, conscious of multifaceted discriminations, particularly faced by the LGBT+ ethnic community, considers addressing all forms of inequality as a priority in its agenda. By establishing sections in Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, and Balochi, 6Rang contributes to generating content, informing, and raising awareness about language rights.

6Rang expresses concern about the situation of LGBT+ community members belonging to ethnic minorities, who experience more complex and severe forms of oppression and pressure. 

We declare once again,  that democracy cannot be achieved without addressing injustice against all marginalised and oppressed individuals. We urge all activists and human rights organisations to recognise the rights of ethnic groups in Iran and prioritise the right to education in their mother tongue as the most fundamental right of any nation.


6rang (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network)

February 20, 2024



Azerbaijan Democracy and Development

Azerbaijan Democratic Party

Balochistan Human Rights Group

Bramsh – voice of the women of Balochistan

Centre for Combating Racism and Discrimination against Arabs in Iran

End of Monoling

Hangaw Organization for Human Rights

Kurdistan Human Rights Association-Geneva (KMMK-G)

Kurdistan Human Rights Reporters Center

Kurdistan Human Rights Organization (Kurdpa)

Rasank News

Shiwar News – The Baloch People’s Media

6rang (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network)

Temporary Council of Left Socialists of Iran

Turk Women’s Center

Unrepresented nations and peoples organisation (UNPO)

Voice of Zagros 

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