ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Since the beginning of 2018, Iranian guards killed 16 kulbar (Kurdish border couriers) on the border between Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat) and the Kurdistan Region, a Kurdish MP in the Iranian Parliament revealed.
Jalal Mahmood Zada, an Iranian Kurdish MP from Mahabad city, said Iranian border guards had killed 16 kulbar while they transferred goods across the border between Rojhilat and the Kurdistan Region during the first five months of 2018.
Another Iranian MP, Mustafa Kawakibiyan, criticized the government’s reaction against the kulbar, stating Tehran is not taking any action against the primary sources of illegal trading but are strict against the Kurdish border couriers.
Kulbar is the Kurdish term for individuals who smuggle small amounts of goods across the border—“kul” meaning “back” and “bar” meaning “carrying.”
Though illegal, the local practice has long been accepted as a norm in the economically undeveloped areas where many residents depend on it for their livelihoods.
According to figures released by Kurdish NGO Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, 56 Kurdish couriers have been killed and 40 wounded by Iranian security forces in the past 17 months.
The Kurdish NGO added that Iranian forces killed five Kurdish kulbar and wounded 14 others in May.
Most of the kulbar that have been victims of the Iranian forces’ use of direct gunfire are from the bordering areas of Sardasht, Shno, and Piranshar, the NGO said.
The Iranian government and Parliament have promised to improve the situation of the kulbar but according to the local activists, no serious action has been taken yet by authorities in Tehran.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany