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Iranian civil society speaking up for Afghans' rights

Iranians are pressuring the government to help Afghan nationals with the problems they face, including discrimination and lack of access to schools.
An Afghan man living Iran waits for his mobile phone's battery to be charged in Behesht Zahra cemetery, in south of Tehran April 1, 2008. On "Sizdah Bedar", the 13th day of the Iranian New Year, Afghans living Iran believe it is a bad omen to stay indoors, and most people spend the day amongst nature as well as visiting cemeteries to honour their deceased relatives. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN) - RTR1YZTS

News in recent weeks about Afghan nationals and refugees being harassed in Iran has focused the attention of civil society activists as well as the media on the problems that members of this community face.

Shahrvand reported Dec. 16 that a third-grade teacher in an Afghan-only Pakdasht school, southeast of Tehran, had forced four students who had forgotten their textbooks to stick their hands in a toilet. The news went viral in Reformist, moderate and even conservative publications. A number of newspapers (including Donyay-e-Eghtesad, Farhikhtegan, Quds, Jahan-e-Sanat and Shargh) and news websites (among them Aftab, Alef, Khabar online and Tabnak) published articles critical of the punishment.

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