39 Human Rights Organizations called on the UNHRC to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran

Posted on: June 20th, 2020

Human Rights Activists in Iran and 38 other NGOs have called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran. The joint letter has been sent to all Permanent Missions to the UN in Geneva, ahead of the vote scheduled for the end of this week.

Read the full text below:

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned Iranian and international human rights organizations, urge your government to support resolution A/HRC/43/L.8 on human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran renewing the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran during the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council.

The renewal of this mandate is essential in light of the persistence of widespread and systematic violations of a large array of human rights in the country, many of which stem directly from Iran’s restrictive laws, state policies and practices. It is further warranted by Iran’s ongoing failure to avail itself of the scrutiny of human rights monitors, to uphold the right of people in Iran to truth, justice and reparation, and to hold perpetrators of human rights violations to account.

Iran’s violent repression of nationwide popular protests that erupted in November 2019 has illustrated yet again this failure, with deeply tragic consequences for thousands of victims and their families. The intentional use of lethal force by security forces between 15 and 18 November 2019 resulted in the unlawful killing of hundreds of protesters and bystanders, including children, who posed no imminent threat to life or serious injury. Amnesty International has documented the deaths of 304 men, women and children but has noted that it believes the death toll to be higher. The scale of lethal force and other unnecessary or excessive force used against unarmed protesters is a deeply alarming escalation of past abusive practices of Iran’s security and intelligence forces, who have previously unlawfully killed and injured protesters and other dissidents with impunity.

This severe crackdown has also involved the arrest of around 7,000 people, according to a spokesperson for Iran’s parliamentary committee for national security and foreign policy, as well as widespread patterns of enforced disappearances, incommunicado detentions, and torture and other ill-treatment of detainees. Iranian officials called for charges that carry the death penalty against protest “leaders”, creating an urgent concern for the fate of those arrested; three men have already been convicted of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) and sentenced to death in a grossly unfair trial in connection with acts of arson that took place during the November 2019 protests. Hundreds more have been convicted of vague and broad national security-related charges, often stemming from the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and sentenced up to 10 years in prison as well as, in some cases, flogging. Courts relied on torture-tainted “confessions” as evidence on which they based their verdicts, even when retracted by defendants.

The repression took place under the cover of a near total shutdown of the global Internet in Iran, and ongoing severe restrictions on the free flow of information, and free expression, both online and off-line. The call of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for transparency and for Iran to undertake “prompt, independent and impartial investigations into all violations that have taken place” has remained unanswered. The Iranian authorities have been carrying out systematic reprisals against the families of the victims to enforce silence and perpetuate impunity. Disturbingly, top officials in the country have been making statements that, in fact, praise the security and intelligence forces for swiftly ending the unrest, and celebrate the crackdown as a “crushing victory” against what they have described as “a vast and very dangerous conspiracy plotted by the enemy”.

This recent and ongoing human rights crisis is taking place against the backdrop of a long-term systemic refusal of the Iranian authorities to uphold the rights of people in Iran to freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly. Individuals expressing dissenting opinions, human rights defenders, trade union activists, journalists and media workers have been routinely harassed and under attack throughout 2019 and in 2020. The Iranian authorities also intensified their crackdown against women’s rights defenders campaigning against discriminatory forced veiling laws, sentencing some to harsh prison terms. Similarly, labour rights activists have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated and unjustly sentenced to lengthy prison terms for activities related to their peaceful activism. Sixteen activists who had signed or supported an open letter calling for the resignation of the Supreme Leader and demanding fundamental changes to the country’s political system were arrested in August 2019 and are facing long-term imprisonment.

Journalists and media workers faced intimidation, harassment, summons, interrogations, and arrests, sometimes leading to prison sentences, with a surge in the aftermath of the November 2019 protests, and in the lead-up to the February 2020 Parliamentary elections, as documented by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Even journalists based outside Iran faced harassment and threats. Obstruction to the work of journalists and online media users seeking and publishing information in relation to the downing of the Ukrainian Airlines plane in January 2020 and to the spread of Covid-19 in Iran has also been reported. In this context, transparency and openness to independent journalism and to human rights monitoring are more than ever necessary.

After a trial lacking minimum standards of due process, a Revolutionary court also convicted and sentenced eight conservationists detained since January 2018 to prison terms ranging from six to 10 years for “cooperating with the hostile states against the Islamic Republic” in relation to spying for the United States, relying almost entirely on “confessions”, allegedly made under torture and later retracted, as the main evidence against them.

As abundantly documented in the reports of the United Nations Secretary-General and the Special Rapporteur, discrimination in law and practice remains pervasive and a daily reality for women and girls, for persons belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities, including non-recognized religious minorities, as well as for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. In 2019, parliament approved a bill amending the Civil Code to allow Iranian women married to non-Iranian men to pass on the Iranian nationality to their children upon request and following a security screening of the children; the new law came into force after the Guardian Council ratified it in October 2019. Parliament, however, failed to pass a long-standing bill on violence against women. Ethnic minorities, including Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis, Kurds and Turkmen have continued to face entrenched discrimination, which curtails their access to education, work, health, housing and elected or appointed political office, and violations of their cultural, civil and political rights.

Freedom of religion or belief continues to be extensively and systematically disregarded, including for Baha’is who face widespread and systematic persecution, hate speech and obstacles to access to education and work. Christian converts and Yarsanis (Ahl-e Haq) as well as Sunni Muslims and non-believers are also persecuted for expressing or practising their faith or beliefs or face widespread discrimination. Members of Iran’s LGBT community continue to live under the threat of a penal code criminalizing same-sex sexual relations between consenting individuals with punishments ranging from flogging to death, and of a stigmatizing public discourse that make them vulnerable to police harassment, discrimination and violence.

Throughout the year, torture and other ill-treatment, including prolonged solitary confinement, was widespread and systematic in places of detention. Many of those jailed have been deliberately denied access to essential medical care. A number of human rights groups have received information from victims’ families indicating that their loved ones, who were arrested in relation to the November 2019 protests, have died in detention in suspicious circumstances, possibly resulting from torture. Human rights organizations have documented the executions of over 240 individuals in 2019. Among persons who were executed in 2019, at least four were under 18 at the time of the offence, and a dozen executions were carried out in public.

Iran’s judicial system, which should be the ultimate guardian of the rights of all people in Iran, has instead been perpetuating patterns of grave violations of human rights. The Secretary-General in his report presented at this session observed a “deterioration of fair trial guarantees” in 2019, pointing to a recent instruction from the head of the judiciary that allowed appeal proceedings to take place in writing and without a hearing, and a proposed amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure that, if adopted, would further limit the access of a person accused of national security crimes to a lawyer. These developments have come in the context of systematic violations of fair trial standards, including closed, summary trials, individuals facing national security or other charges being systematically denied access to independent lawyers at the investigation stage and some defendants being denied access to their lawyer even at trial, and extensive use of torture and other ill-treatment, especially during interrogations, to extract “confessions”, that are in many cases used as evidence on which judges base their verdict, and that are sometimes broadcasted on state television.

In an opinion adopted in August 2019, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention raised alarm at “a systemic problem with arbitrary detention in the country, which amounts to a serious violation of international law” In a number of opinions adopted in recent years, the Working Group has further reminded the authorities that under certain circumstances, widespread or systematic imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty, in violation of fundamental rules of international law, may constitute crimes against humanity.

In such a context, the work of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran is critical to monitor, document and report on the many systemic human rights challenges that people in Iran are facing, to engage with Iranian authorities on issues of concern, and to transmit potentially life-saving urgent communications on behalf of victims of human rights abuses, including individuals convicted of offences committed while  under the age of 18 and at risk of imminent executions or prisoners being denied access to medical care. The Special Rapporteur’s work amplifies the voices of victims within the UN system, and this mandate’s expert findings and recommendations steer and inform stakeholders’ efforts to encourage Iran to undertake long overdue human rights reforms.

For all these reasons, we urge your government to voice concern at the dire situation of human rights in the country, to call for transparency and accountability, and to support the renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran at this session.

Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

The Advocates for Human Rights

All Human Rights for All in Iran

Amnesty International

Arseh Sevom

Article 18

ARTICLE 19

ASL19

Association for the Human Rights of the Azerbaijani people in Iran (AHRAZ)

Association for Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran – Geneva (KMMK-G)

Balochistan Human Rights Group

Center for Human Rights in Iran

Center for Supporters of Human Rights

Child Rights International Network (CRIN)

CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Committee to Protect Journalists

Conectas Direitos Humanos

Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM)

Freedom from Torture

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI)

Human Rights Watch

Impact Iran

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)

International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

Iran Human Rights

Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

Justice for Iran

Kurdistan Human Rights Network

Minority Rights Group International

OutRight Action International

Reprieve

Siamak Pourzand Foundation

Small Media

United for Iran

World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)

6Rang – Iranian Lesbian & Transgender Network


Message of condolence from human rights organizations on the passing on of Ali Ajami

Posted on: May 21st, 2020

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Ali Ajami, an exiled Iranian human rights defender and a dear colleague to many of us, who focused on documenting violations of human rights in Iran.

Ali, 37, was a gifted student of law at the University of Tehran who became a refugee after being arrested, imprisoned, and expelled from the university because of his political activism in Iran. Originally from a small village close to the city of Sabzehvar in Khorasan Razavi Province, he scored among the top twenty students in the national entrance exam for university, but due to his peaceful political activism, ended up serving two years in prison. Despite bearing the burden of finding a place in a new society as a new immigrant after leaving Iran, Ali remained committed to be a voice for the voiceless and help several of us with documenting and reporting on numerous human rights violations in Iran.

Many of us will remember Ali with a bright smile and a firm belief that the world we have can be made a better place for all those suffering under political oppression and economic injustice. It breaks our hearts that he endured oppression and imprisonment, and he had to leave his country solely for his political beliefs.

We extend our deepest condolences to Ali’s family and friends in Iran and outside the country, and we hope they can find some small comfort in knowing that he made a difference to the people around him and his fellow Iranians.

 

Roya Boroumand, Executive Director

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

 

Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Founder and President

Center for Supporters of Human Rights

 

Keyvan Rafiee, Executive Director

Human Rights Activists in Iran

 

Tara Sepehri Far, Iran Researcher

Human Rights Watch

 

Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director

International Center for Human Rights in Iran

 

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Executive Director

Iran Human Rights

 

Shahin Milani, Executive Director
Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

 

Azadeh Pourzand, Co-Founder & Executive Director

Siamak Pourzand Foundation

 

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Executive Director

United for Iran

 


OPEN LETTER TO RELEASE IRAN’S FEMALE PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE DURING PANDEMIC

Posted on: April 22nd, 2020

In this COVID-19 pandemic, Iran is suffering one of the most damaging and deadliest outbreaks of any country in the world. Last week, the Iranian parliament’s research center released a report, written by independent experts, asserting that the true death toll could be nearly double the official figures and the number of infections may be up to 10 times higher. If confirmed, these numbers would make Iran the country with the highest number of cases in the world. A study by Iran’s prestigious Sharif University warns that the death toll may rise to 3.5 million in a worst-case scenario.

Despite the catastrophic situation on the ground, the government reopened businesses and resumed regularly scheduled public transportation last week— a move that is feared could spark a further wave.

The situation is even worse in Iran’s prisons. In February, the UN released a report documenting how the unsanitary and overcrowded prison conditions in Iran were already causing the spread of other infectious diseases. By the beginning of March, COVID-19 was added to the list. At that point, the women’s ward in Evin Prison, where a large number of the female prisoners of conscience are detained in cramped and unsanitary spaces, had already run out of medical and cleaning supplies. These prisoners of conscience are confined to a room with 18 women and sleep on triple bunk beds with little space in between. They are at an even greater risk than the general prison population, as their wellbeing is already often compromised by torture, denial of medical treatment, other ill-treatment, and their own hunger strikes. At least ten prisoners have reportedly died of the virus in Iran, though the numbers cannot be verified as authorities have denied outside observers access to prisons.

The authorities have reported the release of some tens of thousands of “low-level” prisoners temporarily to control the spread. However, it is not possible to verify the high number of alleged releases, and authorities have thus far refused to release hundreds of peaceful political prisoners. This is no judicial oversight. It is part of a policy that looks to further punish political prisoners by keeping them in dangerous prison conditions.

We, therefore, urge governments, non-governmental organizations, journalists, the United Nations and other international organizations to put pressure on the Iranian authorities to immediately release the following known prisoners of conscience, along with any other political prisoners, to save their lives. 

The following women are leading human rights defenders, lawyers, educators, writers, artists, and environmentalists, who have been sentenced to some of the harshest prison sentences in Iran’s history. The list includes Iranian and dual citizens.

Evin Prison:

1.    Nasrin Sotoudeh

2.    Fariba Adelkhah

3.    Kylie Moore-Gilbert

4.    Mojgan Keshavarz

5.    Saba Kord Afshari

6.    Raheleh Ahmadi

7.    Yasaman Aryani

8.    Monireh Arabshahi

9.    Atena Daemi

10. Niloufar Bayani

11. Sepideh Kashani

12. Maryam Akbari Monfared

13. Samaneh Norouz Moradi

14. Negin Ghadamian

15. Zahra Zehtabchi

16. Rezvaneh Khanbeigi

17. Elham Barmaki

18. Maryam Haj Hosseini


Other Prisons:

19. Golrokh Iraee Ebrahimi (Qarchak Prison)

20. Leila Mirghafari (Qarchak Prison)

21. Raha Ahmadi (Qarchak Prison)

22. Zohreh Sarv (Qarchak Prison)

23. Maryam Ebrahimvand (Qarchak Prison)

24. Fatemeh Khishvand (Qarchak Prison)

25. Narges Mohammadi (Zanjan Prison)

26. Zeinab Jalalian (Khoy Prison)

27. Fatemeh Sepehri (Vakilabad Prison, Mashhad)

28. Fatemeh Dadvand (Bukan Prison)

29. Mojgan Sayami (Ardebil  Central Prison)

30. Fatemeh Asma Esmaeilzadeh

31. Enis Saadet

32. Jaka Esmaeilpour

33. Sheida Najafian

34. Samira Hadian

35. Hajar Ardasr

36. Hakimeh Ahmadi

37. Fatemeh Kohanzadeh

38. Zari Tavakkoli

39. Gita Hor

40. Maryam Mokhtari

41. Saghar Mohammadi

42. Mokhgan Eskandari

43. Nahid Beshid

44. Simmin Mohammadi

45. Ehteram Sheikhi

46. Sheida Abedi

47. Masoumeh Ghasemzadeh Malekshah

48. Yalda Firouzian

49. Farideh Jaberi

50. Masoumeh Askari


Signed: 

⚫️ Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
⚫️ European Parliament, Vice-President Heidi Hautala on behalf of the Community of Sakharov Prize laureates
⚫️ Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
⚫️ Alliance Against State Hostage Taking
⚫️ Arseh Sevom
⚫️ Article 18
⚫️ Center for Human Rights in Iran
⚫️ Defenders of Human Rights Centre
⚫️ Equality Now
⚫️ Freedom House
⚫️ Human Rights Activists in Iran
⚫️ Human Rights Foundation
⚫️ Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre
⚫️ Iran Human Rights
⚫️ International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
⚫️ International Observatory of Human Rights
⚫️ Lantos Foundation
⚫️ Movements.org
⚫️ Nobel Women
⚫️ Siamak Pourzand Foundation
⚫️ Stop Child Executions
⚫️ United for Iran

 


Joint letter calling on HRC member to support the resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran

Posted on: March 15th, 2019

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On Thursday, March 15, HRAI and 41 other NGOs signed a joint statement, calling HRC member states to support the resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran. Read the full text below:

TO: Member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council

YourExcellency,

We, the undersigned Iranian and international human rights organisations, urge your government to support resolution A/HRC/40/L.15 renewing the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, to be tabled during the 40th session of the Human Rights Council. 

The renewal of this mandate is warranted by the persistence of serious, chronic and systematic violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in the country, which have only become more dire over the past year. The capacity and expertise of the mandate are necessary to address the on-going repression in Iran, including through conducting urgent documentation and urgent actions and through sustained and continuous engagement with the Iranian authorities in order to advance the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

Discontent with corruption and mismanagement of resources and demands for civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights have led to protests across the country over the last year. These protests and strikes have often been met by arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as violations of the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly. In 2018, at least 5 individuals, including protestors, have died in state custody and authorities have failed to conduct any transparent investigation into the circumstances of their death. State repression has been especially severe against already marginalized communities and ethnic minorities, for whom these issues are particularly acute. The security forces have violently dispersed peaceful demonstrations, beating unarmed protesters and using live ammunition, tear gas and water cannons against them.

The authorities have intensified their efforts to choke off the space for civil society work. Dissenting voices, including journalists, online media workers and human rights defenders, including human rights lawyers, labour rights activists and women’s rights defenders, have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention, simply for speaking out. In 2018 at least 63 environmental activists were arrested. They include eight conservationists who could face the death penalty or long prison terms following a grossly unfair trial for their wildlife conservation work. Space for online expression continues to be closed off as part of efforts to inhibit the free flow of information in the country, as exemplified by the blocking of the popular instant messaging application Telegram.

Meanwhile, the Iranian authorities have consistently failed to adopt and enact legislation and policies that would address the core human rights violations that people in the country have been facing for decades, despite the many recommendations it has received from UN human rights bodies and through the UPR to that effect, and despite continued popular demands expressed through strikes and protests.

Long-standing bills pertaining to the protection of children against abuse and violence against women remain stalled, and some of the reforms included in the original drafts have already been watered down by the Guardian Council and the judiciary. In December 2018, a parliamentary committee rejected an amendment to the article on the age of marriage in the Civil Code, which would have banned marriage for girls under 13. Moreover, no legislative efforts were made to abolish the death penalty for individuals under the age of 18 at the time of the offence, which Iran practises “far more often than any other states”, as the Special Rapporteur stressed in his report.

Meanwhile, as abundantly documented by the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, by the UN Secretary General, and by civil society organizations, legislation, policies and state practices continue to be at odds with international human rights standards on women’s rights, the rights of the child,  ethnic minority rights, the rights of recognized and unrecognized religious minorities, the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, protection from torture and other ill-treatment, the right to life, due process and fair trial guarantees, as well as the equal enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights. 

Human rights organisations documented the executions of over 230 individuals in 2018, a decrease from last year, most likely as a result of amendments to the country’s drug law that went into force in November 2017. Authorities executed at least six who were under the age of 18 at the time of the offence. Iranians belonging to ethnic minorities, especially Kurds and Baluchis, have been disproportionately represented in execution statistics. Trials that violated due process and fair trial guarantees led to capital sentences, and death sentences were pronounced against individuals for a large range of offences that do not constitute the most serious crimes under international law. 

Rampant impunity remains prevalent in the judicial system. The most flagrant example is the systematic impunity that exists with respect to the on-going enforced disappearances and the secret extrajudicial executions of 1988; many of the perpetrators involved continue to hold positions of power, including in key judicial, prosecutorial and government bodies responsible for ensuring that victims receive justice. Indeed, the newly appointed head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, is one of the aforementioned perpetrators, who was the deputy prosecutor general of Tehran in 1988 and a member of the Tehran “death commission”.

The work carried out by the Special Rapporteur has been critical to amplifying the voices of victims of human rights abuses within the UN system. This work also supports a stifled domestic civil society, identifies systemic challenges, stimulates discussions about human rights within Iran, calls for key human rights reforms, and takes action on a large number of individual cases through individual communications, thereby saving or otherwise impacting the lives of many in Iran.

For all these reasons, we call on your government to support the renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, and show that the community of states requires tangible change in the human rights record of the country, in line with Iran’s treaty obligations and UPR commitments.

▪️Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

▪️The Advocates for Human Rights

▪️All Human Rights for All in Iran

▪️Amnesty International

▪️Arseh Sevom

▪️Article 18

▪️ARTICLE 19

▪️ASL19

▪️Association for the Human Rights of the Azerbaijani people in Iran (AHRAZ)

▪️Association for Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva (KMMK-G)

▪️Balochistan Human Rights Group

▪️Center for Human Rights in Iran

▪️Center for Supporters of Human Rights

▪️Child Rights International Network (CRIN)

▪️CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation

▪️Conectas Direitos Humanos

▪️Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM)

▪️Freedom from Torture

▪️Freedom House

▪️Freedom Now

▪️Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI)

▪️Human Rights Watch

▪️Impact Iran

▪️International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

▪️International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

▪️International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)

▪️International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)

▪️International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

▪️Iran Human Rights

▪️Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

▪️Justice for Iran

▪️Kurdistan Human Rights Network

▪️Minority Rights Group International

▪️OutRight Action International

▪️Reprieve

▪️Siamak Pourzand Foundation

▪️Small Media

▪️United for Iran

▪️West African Human Rights Defenders’ Network

▪️World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

▪️World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)

▪️6Rang – Iranian Lesbian & Transgender Network


Statement by a number of independent labor organizations about recent protests

Posted on: January 2nd, 2018

HRANA News Agency- Five independent labor organizations issued an statement declaring their support for people and added “The full text of this joint statement, which a copy has been made available to HRANA, is as follow: “It should be self-evident that ignoring the demands of workers and toiling people of Iran by resorting to demagoguery or crackdown or attempts by governmental factions or the opposition that is driven from power before to base itself on the wave of popular protests will not bear any fruit. This time, it is us, the workers and people of Iran, who will write out own destiny, with unity, solidarity and continuation of protests.”

It is said that When the government has reached a dead end and it has no solution to the crises it has created by it self, and when people fed up with oppression and injustice, unlike the past are not going to give in to oppression, it is time for widespread protests and social upheavals.

So now, for the past four days, people fed up with tyranny, oppression, unaffordable prices, poverty and unemployment, have taken on the streets across the country, and in a united and coherent front they shout their demands to end the existing hell.

The demands that today have provided the grounds for mass protests and rallies of the working people of Iran, are centered on protesting poverty, unaffordability, and unemployment, demands that has been shouted for decades by workers, teachers, students, nurses and all other levels of the workers, yet the rulers without any considerations have been occupied with plundering and looting of social wealth.

What we see today in the streets of various cities of Iran is the eruption of the accumulated anger of the masses of the working people of Iran from the plunder of the billions of top government officials and individuals and financial institutions affiliated with the power sector on the one hand, and the poverty and annihilation of millions of people on the other hand, while the mass unemployment of millions of workers and young people, the beating and oppression of street vendors and the killing of kulbars, the imposition of wages well below the poverty line on the workers, and use of violence, lashes, prisons, executions, and the oppression of any demand for justice and freedom continues.

Those who used to respond to any and every rightful protest by workers and people with security charges, trial and prisons are now faced with the thunderous anger of millions of Iranians and call their protests ‘sedition’ and ‘fitna.’ They should know that now is the time for massive, humane changes in this country and no force of oppression can withstand the quest of us, workers and people of Iran, for justice and freedom.

We, together with the toiling masses of Iran, shout something that should be clear: Our demands for an end to poverty and misery should be realized; all oppression and prison should end; all political prisoners should be freed and predators of social wealth and those responsible for oppression should be prosecuted and tried, no matter what position they hold; the wealth stolen from people by financial institutions should be given back; the minimum wage of workers and employees of both public and private sectors be increased fivefold and the massive income of government authorities be slashed; the right of workers to form independent trade unions and civil organization and their unconditional freedom of speech and press and freedom of political parties is to be guaranteed and the demands of millions of Iranian masses be realized.

It should be self-evident that ignoring the demands of workers and toiling people of Iran by resorting to demagoguery or crackdown or attempts by governmental factions or the opposition that is driven from power before to base itself on the wave of popular protests will not bear any fruit. This time, it is us, the workers and people of Iran, who will write out own destiny, with unity, solidarity and continuation of protests.

Free union of Iranian workers

Association of Electrical and Metal Workers of Kermanshah

Association of Painters of Alborz Province

Labor Defenders’ Center

Committee for the pursuit of the establishment of labor organizations

 


JOINT NGO LETTER IN SUPPORT OF HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 34TH RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN

Posted on: March 17th, 2017

On Thursday, March 16, Justice for Iran and 40 other NGOs addressed a joint statement to the permanent representatives of member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Read the full text below:

To: Permanent representatives of member states of the Human Rights Council

Your Excellency,

 We, the undersigned cross-regional group of human rights civil society organizations call on your government to support the resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran at the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The country mandate has been a vital tool of promotion human rights in Iran since its establishment in 2011. It has proven effective at spotlighting the gravity of the situation in the country and provoking internal debate about some laws and practices that violate international human rights law and standards. Only through continued attention from the international community will these initial achievements translate into measurable reforms of law and practice that substantively improve the rights situation people in Iran face. (more…)


Iran: Repression of those seeking truth and justice for 1980s killings needs to stop

Posted on: March 8th, 2017

HRANA – 20 International and Iranian NGOs draw attention to the situation of women human rights defenders in Iran who seek truth and justice on International Women’s Day.

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) alongside other organizations issued a joint public statement calling on the Iranian authorities to quash the charges and sentences issued against Mansoureh Behkish, Maryam Akbari-Monfared, Raheleh Rahemipour and Ahmad Montazeri. (more…)


Iran’s Judiciary is Responsible for Protecting the Lives of Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Posted on: January 10th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) has issued a statement in response to the plight of the prisoners on hunger strike in various prisons around the country. HRAI While stating the demands of those on strike legitimate, also hold the judiciary responsible for the wellbeing and lives of prisoners on the strike.  The full text of the statement follows:

 

Press Release:

A number of political prisoners in Iran are on hunger strike. The scope, number of strikes and the long duration of some of the hunger strikes have raised the concerns of public and human right defenders. (more…)


Joint NGO Letter in support of 2016 UNGA Resolution on human rights in Iran

Posted on: December 12th, 2016

Joint NGO Letter in support of 2016 UNGA Resolution on human rights in Iran

Your Excellency:

 We, the undersigned human rights organizations, welcome the decision of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly’s Third Committee to pass Resolution A/C.3/71/L.25 on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The resolution sends a vital message to all governments and the people of Iran that the human rights situation in the country is of international concern and that reforms are urgently needed.

We hope to see increased support for the resolution when it comes up for a vote again at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) plenary session and we encourage all member states to vote in favor of it.

Despite recent diplomatic and trade openings that have occurred since the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, human rights should continue to be a top concern in Iran and for those states seeking expanded diplomatic and economic ties to Iran. The situation in the country remains dire and has deteriorated in several areas. As the government pursues deeper international ties, this is a uniquely opportune time to push for significant improvements in the human rights situation in Iran.

Moreover, as Iran has a newly elected parliament, and an upcoming presidential election in May 2017, this is a crucial moment for the international community to outline its concerns to the government. To that end, while the text of this year’s resolution welcomes recent positive steps taken by the government, it also raises the most urgent rights issues in the country.

Iran has maintained the highest per capita execution rate in the world for several years, putting to death over 500 people so far in 2016. The majority of these executions take place after unfair trials and are for crimes that do not constitute the “most serious crimes” under international law, such as drug-related offenses. Executions in Iran have included the execution of child offenders, including at least nine in the last two years; public executions; and the execution of individuals on vaguely worded offenses, such as “enmity against God” (moharebeh).

On 2 August 2016, authorities hanged 25 Sunni men, of whom 22 were from Iran’s Kurdish minority and three were Iraqi nationals, on charges of moharebeh. The Iranian authorities have only announced the execution of 20 men on that date.  Our organizations and others observed that all these men had been convicted in proceedings marked by appalling examples of human rights violations, including the use of torture and other ill-treatment; admitting as evidence the use of forced “confessions”; and denial of access to a lawyer throughout the investigation stage. One of these men, all of whom were executed for alleged connections to armed activities, was Shahram Ahmadi, who maintained he had been tortured repeatedly by his interrogators during pre-trial detention which lasted almost three years. He also maintained that he had only been involved in non-violent religious activities.

The Iranian government continues to harshly restrict the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, association, and assembly.  These restrictions include widespread censorship of the press and Internet, the criminalization of peaceful dissent and protests, arbitrary restrictions on civil society, a ban on independent labor activities, and persecution for certain acts of religious worship. The Iranian authorities rely on the systematic use of arbitrary detention against journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders, political activists, student activists, artists and bloggers for exercising their protected rights. Ethnic minority activists, including Arabs, Baloch, Kurds and Azerbaijani Turks, and members of minority religions, such as Baha’is, Christian converts, Sunni Muslims, Sufi Muslims and the Yarasan, also face similar patterns of abuse and restriction of their rights.

On 26 November 2016, the Special Court for the Clergy in Qom, which is under the direct authority of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, issued a six-year prison sentence against Ahmad Montazeri. Montazeri was charged after posting on his official website an audio file of his deceased father, Grand Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri, the former Deputy Supreme Leader and one of Iran’s most prominent Shia Muslim clerics, harshly criticizing Iranian authorities’ mass execution of political prisoners in the 1980s.

Over the past two years, authorities have arrested numerous Iranian dual nationals, accusing them of participating in a “western-led” project to “infiltrate” the country and its core values. Authorities have also prosecuted several journalists, accusing them of being part of an “infiltration network,” offering as evidence any real or perceived association with individuals abroad, including family members living outside of Iran, as support for these allegations.

Systematic discrimination and violence against women in law and practice also merits serious concern. Married women, for instance, cannot obtain a passport without the permission of their husband. Moreover, a husband can prevent his spouse obtaining an occupation he deems against family values or harmful to his or her reputation. While women occupy about half of all university student slots, their economic participation in Iran is five times lower than men, according to government figures.

Since 2014, the Iranian Parliament has debated eight bills, passing four, that further curtail women’s rights by limiting access to health and family planning services, employment, or undermining protections against gender-based violence. For example one pending bill, the Bill to Increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline, curbs access to contraception and information about family planning, cuts government family planning programs, and outlaws surgical contraception. The Comprehensive Population and Family Excellence Bill, which is still before the Parliament, mandates employment discrimination against women and unmarried persons, makes divorce more difficult, and discourages police and judicial intervention in family conflicts.

We call on all UN member states to vote in support of Resolution A/C.3/71/L.25 on the situation of human rights in Iran at the UNGA plenary session. Passage of the Resolution will convey to all governments as well as the people of Iran that the international community is genuinely invested in human rights advancement in Iran.

Sincerely,

Roya Boroumand, Executive Director

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

 

Robin Phillips, Executive Director

The Advocates for Human Rights

 

Hassan Nayeb Hashem, Representative to the Human Rights Council

All Human Rights for All in Iran

 

Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa

Amnesty International

 

Kamran Ashtary, Executive Director

Arseh Sevom

 

Mansour Borji, Advocacy Director

Article 18

 

Thomas Hughes, Executive Director

ARTICLE 19

 

Shahin Helali Khyavi, Director

Association for Human Rights of the Azerbaijani People in Iran

 

Taimoor Aliassi, UN Representative

Association pour les Droits Humains au Kurdistan d’Iran-Genève (KMMK-G)

 

Mansoor Bibak, Co-Director

Balochistan Human Rights Group

 

Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Founder and President

Center for Supporters of Human Rights

 

Joel Simon, Executive Director

Committee to Protect Journalists

 

Jessica Morris, Executive Director

Conectas Direitos Humanos

 

Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Executive Director

Ensemble Contre La Peine de Mort (ECPM)

 

Ibrahim Al Arabi, Executive Director

European Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation

 

Ann Hanna, Head of International Advocacy

Freedom From Torture

 

Keyvan Rafiee, Director

Human Rights Activists in Iran

 

Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division

Human Rights Watch

 

Mani Mostofi, Director

Impact Iran

 

Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

 

Stéphanie David, Representative to the United Nations in New York

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

 

Phil Lynch, Director

International Service for Human Rights

 

Saghi Ghahraman, President

Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO)

 

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Executive Director

Iran Human Rights

 

Rebin Rahmani, European Director

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network

 

Mehrangiz Kar, Chairperson

Siamak Pourzand Foundation

 

Mahmood Enayat, Director

Small Media

 

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Executive Director

United for Iran

 

Elizabeth A. Zitrin, President

World Coalition Against the Death Penalty


19 Human Rights Organizations Call to Protect the Rights of Christians in Iran

Posted on: November 28th, 2016

A group of 19 human rights organizations call the international community and United Nations bodies to protect the rights of Christians in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In the summer of 2016, Iranian authorities increased their persecution of Christians, honing in on converts from a Muslim-background.

Between May and August 2016, in locations across Iran, security forces arrested a total of 79 Christians, according to informed sources, family members, and friends. The majority of those arrested were interrogated and detained for periods ranging from a few days to months. At the time of writing, some of these 79 Christians remain in detention and have still not been formally charged. Rights groups believe the true number of Christians apprehended by the authorities could be notably higher, as many arrests would have gone unreported.

In 2012, the Iranian government instituted polices to bar converts from Muslim backgrounds from attending services in official churches. Instead, Christian converts are forced to gather in informal groups known as “house churches”. These gatherings are considered illegal by authorities and are often raided. In August 2016 alone, security agents allegedly raided at least four house churches and house church members were arrested and interrogated.

The individuals responsible for house churches often face charges of “acting against national security through the establishment of house churches”. A group of four converts from Rasht were arrested in May 2016 and charged with “acting against national security.” A verdict is still pending from their hearing on 15 October 2016. Three of these men also faced charges of drinking communion wine and are appealing their sentences of 80 lashes each. Many others of those recently arrested are still waiting to know what charges will be brought against them.

Iranian authorities have put pressure on Christian leaders to emigrate, either through direct threats or through intentional harassment. Some church leaders have reportedly been told during interrogation that they will face 5 to 10 years in prison unless they leave the country. In other instances, Christians have said that harassment has taken the form of a daily summons to security offices for questioning, confiscation of documents such as identity cards to prevent the victim from buying or selling property or cars or forcing the Christians out of their jobs.

This pattern of treatment of Iranian Christians and converts violates Iran’s constitutional and international legal obligations. Article 14 of the Islamic Republic’s constitution contains provisions, which uphold basic religious rights for some non-Muslims including Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians. Article 19 also enshrines the principle of non-discrimination and article 23 prohibits authorities from investigating a person’s belief or taking action against someone solely on account of his or her beliefs.

As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Islamic Republic of Iran is obligated to ensure non-discrimination under Articles 2 and 26 and freedom of thought, conscience and religion under Article 18. Article 18 specifically protects the right of a person to change their religion.

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

Since the lifting of international sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), governments worldwide have been showing a commitment to improving relations with Iran and developing business opportunities. In June 2016, for example, the European Parliament published an analysis of EU-Iran relations in the wake of the nuclear agreement, entitled “An EU strategy for relations with Iran after the nuclear deal”. The strategy disappointingly includes very little mention of human rights.

We suggest the following response from the international community and the Islamic Republic:

(1) Governments should factor human rights, including the rights of religious minorities, into all bilateral dealings with the Islamic Republic. Governmental agencies should explore avenues beyond dialogue alone to ensure human rights violators are held accountable and that trade and diplomatic relations do not contribute to further abuses.

(2) The Secretary General and newly appointed Special Rapporteurs on freedom of religion and human rights in Iran should monitor and report extensively on violations of freedom of religious of people in Iran, in accordance with their mandates before the United Nations.

(3) The Islamic Republic of Iran must ensure that the values enshrined in the Iranian Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are upheld and that the right to freedom of religion and belief, including the right of conversion and of non-belief, for all its citizens and residents of the country to be respected.

Sincerely,

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

All Human Rights for All in Iran

Arseh Sevom

Article 18

Association for Human rights of Azerbaijani People in Iran

Association of Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva

Baloch Activist Campaign

Center for Supporters of Human Rights

Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM)

European Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI)

Impact Iran

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

Iran Human Rights

Justice for Iran

Middle East Concern

Siamak Pourzand Foundation

Small Media

United for Iran

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