An Iranian Kurdish smuggler packs his horse to transport goods from the Iraq into Iran, Zagros Mountains, Iraq, July 27, 2017. Photo by Al Monitor
SULAIMANI – At least fifteen Kolbars (porters) and local tradesmen known as “Kasibkar” were killed under torture, lost their lives in natural disasters and wounded in the Iranian Kurdistan’s border areas throughout March 2021, a Hengaw Organization for Human Rights said on Wednesday (March 31).
80 percent of the casualties were by direct fire from the security forces, Hengaw, which reports on human rights in the Iranian Kurdistan, reported.
Twelve porters and tradesmen were wounded after the Iranians security forces opened fire at them, according to the watchdog, noting two others lost their lives in natural disasters and another was killed under torture by the Turkish forces.
“3 Kolbars lost their lives and 12 were injured. Most of the victims were from the provinces of Kurdistan (Sanandaj) and Kermanshah, each with 6 cases and all the 3 casualties, were from West Azerbaijan (Urmia) province,” Hengaw added.
Kolbars carry heavy loads of contraband on their backs across the western Iran and eastern Kurdistan Region, blaming the high rate of unemployment in Iran’s Kurdish-populated provinces, where many of the porters come from.
Working in the smuggling trade on the border between Iran and Kurdistan Region has cost the lives of hundreds of Kurdish porters.
Over 16 Kolbars died and were injured due to direct fire from Iranian security forces, landmines, natural disasters in February.
Fifty-nine Kolbars died and 179 were injured, mostly due to shootings from Iranian security forces in 2020, Hangaw said in December in its year-end report.