Monthly Report – An Overview of the Human Rights Situation in Iran in May-June, 2015

HRANA News Agency – The Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists Association of Iran has published the following monthly report on the human rights situation in Iran during the period of May-June, 2015 (Persian calendar month of Khordad, 1394). This report cannot perfectly and comprehensively reflect the details of human rights concerns in Iran for obvious reasons including the existing governmental limitations and ban on the free exchange of information. It should be emphasized that in addition to the monthly reports, the Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists Association of Iran publishes a comprehensive and analytical annual report at the end of each year.

An Analytical and Statistical Report on the Human Rights Situation in May-June, 2015

The systematic violation of human rights in Iran continued in the month of Khordad (May-June, 2015) of the Persian calendar year, 1394. This month began with the executions of 30 individuals in the cities of Karaj (Gezel-Hesar Prison), Ardabil, Karaj (Rajayee-Sharh Prison), Mashhad, Kerman, and Gachsaran, indicating a terrible start for the human rights situations in Iran. Unfortunately, many individuals were executed in the month of Khrodad, starting with the public execution of one prisoner charged with rape in Jiroft, mass-execution of several individuals in Karaj (both Gezel-Hesar and Rajayee-Sharh Prisons which included the execution of 25 individuals). Most of these executions were carried out in secret and without public media coverage.

The execution of political prisoner, Mansour Arvand who was imprisoned in the Prison of Miandoab city, was one of the most noted reports regarding the execution in Iran.

The good news of this month was suspension of some of death sentences including the suspension of the execution of one individual in the city of Noshahr and another prisoner in the city of Qazvin after 21 years in prison.

On the other hand, the violations of ethnic minorities’ rights continued in this month; the most significant of these cases was a report on the government associated Council of Organizing Religious Science of Sunni Faith disallowing the reforms in the Sunni religious schools of Khorasan province.

Regarding the violations of Baha’is rights, the human violations continued as usual, and several reports were highlighted in this month rincluding the arrest and transfer of a Baha’i citizen, Sasan Haghiri, to Isfahan prison; banning of 11 businesses in the city of Sari; and the start of imprisonment of one Baha’i citizen in the city of Hamedan.

In one of the most prominent recent reports about the violations of Baha’i citizens’ rights, it was reported that the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has issued a statement calling for a comprehensive and consistent policy in dealing with Baha’i issues. According to this report, Baha’I should be banned from scientific, social, and career development.

Further to the violations of religious minorities rights, there was a report on summoning Yusef Hasanzadeh, a 58 years old citizen of Tehran, to Evin Prison in this month. This individual had been sentenced to 10 years in prison with charges of Cyber-Telephone anti-government activities in connection with the Belgium Catholic church.

Regarding the violations of Gonabadi Sufis’ rights, there was a report regarding the sentencing of Abbas Salehian, a Gonabadi Sufi, to 74 lashes and the trial of Kazem Dehghan.

In the second anniversary of three Yarsian followers who set themselves on fire to protest against the violations imposed on their ethnic rights, a number of followers of this religious minority gathered in the city of Sahneh in memory of their companions and asked the government to put an end to the tyrannical policies applied to their faith.

Regarding children’s rights, there were a couple of reports, the most notable of which were the drug addiction age reaching to a very young age of 11 years old; an eleven years old girl being raped by a group of individuals in Tehran; and identifying around six thousands homeless kids in Iran. Habibollah Masoudi Farid, the social deputy of the Welfare Organization of Iran stated: “child abuse, women abuse, and domestic violations are the subject of the most of the contacts made to the urgent social center in Iran.”

In the category of women rights in Iran, there were several reports including onslaughts against Iranian women regarding the choice of clothing; increasing number of homeless women in Tehran; and the protest of extremists in Tehran against women attending the sports complex.   Moreover, the supreme Leader’s representative and The Imam of the Friday Prayers in the city of Varamin indicated that women should not be attending the sports complexes because this is against the values of this revolution, our late leader, and martyrs. He added that other Imams have also warned the government officials and authorities against allowing women to enter the sports complexes.

In this month, there were several reports related to the violations of labor rights including dismissing several workers of the Metal Processing and tTubing of Safa; extending the arrest charges of one labor rights activists named Mahmoud Salehi; and three months suspension of wages of 190 workers in the Steal Company of Alborz.

In addition to the above, new contracts terms and conditions to deal with the ongoing strikes in the free zones were also noted by the human rights activists.  According to these reports, the contract workers working in phases 15 and 16 have been obligated to sign contracts that would severely deal with any strikes. If they participate in any strike they will be dismissed without receiving their salaries.

There were also a couple of reports about fatal work accidents including the death of one 15 years old immigrant workers; the death of one worker in the Star Refinery of  Persian golf;  and the loss of lives of two workers in the Zanjan Mashempa Damn project.

In the field of trade union and union rights, there were a few incidents in this month including the nationwide demonstrations of thousands of teachers that resulted in a new resolution supported by the Minister of Education to support teachers’ demands.

Ali-Asghar Faani, the minister of Education, admitted to significantly lower salary rate of teachers with respect to other government employees and claimed that he is trying to implements measures to improve teachers’ position from social and financial perspective.

In the field of cultural rights, there were several reports of violations of cultural rights including banning the movie “My Special Secretary”; summoning and interrogation of  the writer, Keyvan Bazhan, at the ministry of intelligence; the arrest of four social media activists; and the arrest of two underground music artists in different cities of Iran.

Despite Mr. Abdorreza Rahmani-Fazli, the minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, claiming that there is no law or regulation banning music concerts in Iran, several music concerts including the live concerts of Keyhan Kalhor and Homay were cancelled.

In the field of health and environmental protection, there were several reports, mainly involving the insufficient water resources and related crisis management; rumors that the fires in the forests of Eilam were deliberately created; and a report published by an authority in the ministry of Health concerning the change in the method of prevalence of HIV virus in the society.

Moreover, the destruction of ancient cemeteries of Ashkanian Dynasty in the city of Firouzkouh following the constructions started by the Khatamolanbia Military Base of the Revolutionary Guard of Iran was highly noted in this month. According to this report, a Special Group named Samavat (affiliated with the Khatamolanbia Military Base) started the construction work in this ancient area despite the warning against the destruction of this historical sites.


Specific Attention to the Violation of Human Rights

In this section of this monthly report, the most controversial and publicly sensitive cases of violations of human rights in Iran are highlighted. It is obvious that more attention does not necessarily mean that it is a measure of the magnitude of the violations of human rights in that specific category.

Some of the most noted reports in this month include the censorship and threatening of the Hamshahri newspaper by the President Rouhani supported media; the forceful suppression of the individuals breaking fast in public by the security forces; and prohibiting Iranian women entering the sports complex to watch national volleyball games. These reports created significant public reaction and sensitivity in this month.

Similarly, some other reports draw significant public attention including the arrest of Raouf Shahbazi and threatening Ahmad Zeydabadi; the arrest / transfer of Mohammad Moghimi, Atena Farghdani’s lawyer; and sentencing the editor in chief of the “Mardom Emrouz” magazine.


The least underlined human rights violations

In contrast to the reports indicated in the previous section, many human rights reports received little or no attention from social media, bloggers, Internet activists, who are considered key contributors of the public opinion. It should be note that these unintentional or intentional negligence resulted in further spread of human rights violations in Iran.

Some of these reports include the arrest of Jafar Azimzadeh, the labor rights activists; threatening and attack on the imprisoned worker, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh and transferring him to solitary confinement; gornment’s ban on Nurses who oppose the government from entering the Nursing Organization elections; the arrest of Teymour Khaledian and transferring him to the Rajayee-Shar prison because of protesting against the censorship in the national TV; the arrest of Soulmaz Ikdar, the journalist and social rights activists; condemning two civil rights activists to 13 years in jail in the city of Tabriz; and the arrest of Ali-Akbar Baghani, the deputy head of the Iranian Teachers Association.

It should be notes that Soheila Jelodar commented on the labors situation and existing significant gap between female and male workers: “despite the current constitution that supports equal income for female and male workers, the Iranian women are paid at least about 1/3 of the men.”

In the anniversary of Children’s day, a number of children’ rights activists requested the government to honor this day as the International Day of Banning Working Kids, but this proposal did not receive adequate public support.

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