Op-ed

By Jubin Katiraie

Following the death of another Kurdish piggybacker, 250 civil activists in a letter called for an end to such encounters.

A number of Iranian political and civil activists in an open letter referred to the condition of the poor suburban people of Kurdistan Province. The letter reads, "What turned the issue into a tragedy is that the disciplinary police have shot blind fire for several times and by that some defenseless piggybackers died or left crippled."

The 250 civil activists signed this letter and criticized the "brutal murder of piggybackers; calling for a crackdown on "the perpetrators of such catastrophes" including shooting and killing a young, Kurdish piggybacker in Sardasht border last week.

The civil activists write, "It is evident that the consecutive rise of such tragic incidents in recent years has shown that there are no serious plans and considerable effort to end this aborted series."

The signatories of the letter warned that the recurrence of such incidents and "the cold-blooded killings of piggybackers will cause disappointment, distrust, and divergence.

Various reports have been released in the past months about the death of some piggybackers due to snow and blizzards or about the shooting of border guards and law enforcement officers.

According to Entekhab News, the MPS including Rasoul Khezri, Qasim Osmani, Jalal Mahmoudzadeh, and Abdolkarim Hosseinzadeh called on the Minister of Interior to clarify about the cause of shootings.

The job of piggybackers who import and export goods in regions is regarded as smuggling, while in most cases they are merely the carriers of merchants and smugglers because of unemployment. The piggybackers are ready to receive inadequate wages and work in difficult conditions.

Many young people in this area have to do such risky job with no set of rules in exchange for a meager wage.

Another plan that aimed to improve the conditions of piggybackers was the implementation of an internship system in Kurdistan Province, which, according to some experts this plan will not achieve much of success in the western provinces due to the lack of industrialization.

The Head of Islamic Labor Council of Kurdistan Province, Shaker Ebrahimi on Wednesday, June 21 in an interview with ILNA News stated, "Kurdistan Province does not have a favorable condition to offer job opportunities. The province needs a separate plan for the unemployed graduates since many of our university elites became vendors and piggybackers due to unemployment."

According to the recent reports released by the Statistical Center of Iran, Kurdistan is one the three provinces that the unemployment rate of young people is above the national average, while the average of unemployment rate among young people aged 15 to 24 is slightly less than 29% in Iran. This number reaches 50% in Kurdistan Province.