Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Iran

64 ‘poorest of Iran’s poor Kurds’ kolbar died in 2016, report

By Rudaw 30/3/2017
Kolbars carry goods across the Kurdistan Region-Iran border. Photo: Rudaw video
Kolbars carry goods across the Kurdistan Region-Iran border. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Sixty-four kolbar, Kurdish cross-border porters, “the poorest among Iran’s most poor Kurds,” lost their lives in 2016, according to a new report.

“[I]n 2016 alone, 42 Kolber workers were directly shot dead, 30 were injured, and 22 drowned or died of hypothermia and other causes,” stated the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) in their annual report on the kolbar published Thursday. 

The kolbar are semi-legal porters who carry goods on their backs, across the mountains from the Kurdistan Region to Iran. The France-based KHRN described the kolbar as one of the most forgotten groups, “the most abandoned section of the Iranian society. They are the poorest among Iran’s most poor Kurds.”

According to the KHRN, many young Kurds have recently taken up the heavy packs on the dangerous routes because of rising poverty rates as a deepening financial crisis in Iran has hit hard the already impoverished Kurdish regions. 

They cite statistics from Sanandaj MP Saeed Ahsan Alavi who said Iran’s Kurdistan province ranks 29 out of 31 in terms of income per capita and that more than 45 percent of Kurds are unemployed. 

“Kolbari has remained as the only option for Kurds living in the border towns and villages, although they are well aware of the dangers ahead constantly threatening their lives,” the rights group said.

Villagers on the border have been doing this work illegally for years and in mid-2016, Iranian authorities announced they would issue special licences to allow the transport of goods on foot without the risk of being stopped by border guards. 

Only heads of families who have finished their military services, are aged 18 or older, and live within 15 kilometres of the border qualify for the special licences, the mayor of Sardasht Aziz Hassani said last August. 

According to KHRN, around 5,000 of these licences, called Circulation ID, have been issued. 

Kolbars can earn between $13 and $27 for 150kg of goods that are then sold in shopping malls throughout Iran’s cities, and they are limited in the number of trips they can make per month. The average income for a kolbar puts them well below the poverty line, KHRN said. 

Many, therefore, take illegal routes through the mountains to avoid border guards. The journeys can last hours or days. “The Iranian government troops patrolling the border area do not hesitate to open live rounds to kill Kolber workers,” KHRN stated. 

In 2016, 42 Kolbar were shot and killed, KHRN reported, noting that complaints made to Iranian authorities about the deaths go largely uninvestigated and “nobody has been prosecuted as of yet.” 

Another 22 died because of the harsh and dangerous conditions on the routes they travel. 

Hundreds more kolbar have been arrested, detained, and fined, the rights group reported. 

The Iranian government considers the unlicenced kolbar to be smugglers involved in an illegal economy, bringing weapons and drugs into the country and posing a threat to Iranian security. 

Comments

 
JPL | 31/3/2017
They are not "Iran's Kurds" They are Kurds from East Kurdistan. Rudaw loves to portray Kurds as slaves of Arabs, Persians and Turks! WTF! What a shity journal!
Roj | 31/3/2017
We are 50 million strong Kurds. We must kick out Iranians, Arabs and Turkish terrorist regimes out of our occupied land! We MUST! We MUST! We MUST!!! It's the question of our honor and dignity!
Hakop minasian | 2/4/2017
@roj @JPL Dream further boys. You helped ottomans against Iran and Armenia. Now you complain. Every agression against Iran and Armenia will be answered severely.
Non kurd | 4/4/2017
@HaKopp bastard...just another Iranian terrorist posing as an Armenian. Every Armenian with a brain hates the mullah terror regime

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

STOP | 6/20/2018 7:06:22 AM
It is the US and Russian killing machines, operated by Turks and fully in agreement with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities. So what is the problem?...
Outsider | 6/20/2018 11:09:57 PM
Karayilan said that immediately after the Afrin operation...hence not now...but according to local reports...shortly after the Turks closed in on...
Turkish jets strike villages in Kurdistan’s Bradost region
| yesterday at 11:21 | (2)
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 6/20/2018 10:30:21 AM
Regarding the political realities inside Turkey, if it comes down to Erdogan's tush or America's, the TSK (as presently led) will enter Manbij, at...
Outsider | 6/20/2018 10:57:04 PM
He may forgot to add"....yet" ("The Turks will not enter Manbij, yet..")
US-led coalition: Turkish soldiers will not go into Manbij
| yesterday at 12:59 | (2)
Your hate for the Kurds will end you | 6/20/2018 6:21:49 PM
The Turkish hate for the Kurds will lead to the end of the Turkish state. The Kurdistani will make sure that happens!
Outsider | 6/20/2018 10:46:57 PM
Let's wait and see...
Turkish foreign minister promises to return Manbij to its owners
| yesterday at 03:14 | (5)
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 6/20/2018 8:45:28 PM
The problem is what's called "tribal" culture ... Do not think the West is beyond it. Parts of America's population are headed back into it -- no...
No rest for the Yezidi dead four years after genocide
| 23 hours ago | (1)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

What about Mosul’s Jewish and Christian sites? 5 hours ago |

What about Mosul’s Jewish and Christian sites?

"The tower is in danger to fall more
Iran lists demands for improving relations with US 7 hours ago |

Iran lists demands for improving relations with US

It follows demands laid out in May by Secretary more
Jailed HDP candidate Demirtas to hold election ‘e-rally’ via social media 8 hours ago |

Jailed HDP candidate Demirtas to hold election ‘e-rally’ via social media

Demirtas faces up to 142 years in jail if found more
0.516 seconds