July 30, 2008 / 1:05 PM / 9 years ago

Iran must end abuse of Kurdish minority - Amnesty

LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) - Iran's government is not doing enough to combat widespread discrimination against its Kurdish minority population, according to Amnesty International.

The London-based human rights group said abuses against Kurds had intensified in recent months with courts sentencing members of the ethnic group to death or lengthy imprisonment following flawed trials.

"Iran's government is failing in its duty to prevent discrimination and human rights abuses against its Kurdish citizens, particularly women," Amnesty said in a report released on Wednesday.

"We urge the Iranian authorities to take concrete measures to end any discrimination and associated human rights violations that Kurds, indeed all minorities in Iran, face."

Kurds make up about 15 percent of Iran's population, numbering around 12 million. They are mostly based in the west and northwest of Iran, along the borders with Iraq and Turkey. There are also large Kurdish populations in northeast Iraq, in eastern Syrian and southeastern Turkey.

Amnesty cited several cases of discrimination, including the sentencing to death in February of three people convicted of "moharebeh" or enmity against God. It described the trial as "grossly flawed" and short of international standards.

It also cited abuses against Kurdish women and girls, and cultural and religious discrimination against the group in areas such as housing, education and employment.

"Kurds and all other members of minority communities in Iran -- men, women and children -- are entitled to enjoy their full range of human rights," the organisation said.

"The Iranian authorities should ... abide by their obligations under international human rights law."

(Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Mary Gabriel)

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