A Daily Overview of Human Rights Violations in Iran for December 11, 2018

Posted on: December 11th, 2018

The following is an overview of human rights violations in Iran on December 11th, 2018 based on the information compiled and verified by Human Rights Activists NewsAgency a(HRANA).

(1) Esmail Bakhshi Faced New Accusations by the Public Prosecutor’s Office

(2) The Defenders of Human Rights Center Awarded the Human Rights Prize to the Teachers Association of Iran

(3) All Rock Concerts Set to be Performed in the Azadi Tower Were Canceled

(4) Reza Shahabi and Few Other Members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company Were Arrested; the Self-immolation of a Worker

(5) Arash Keykhosravi Was Released

(6) Mohammad Habibi, An Imprisoned Teacher is Suffering from not Receiving Proper Medical Care

(7) Asghar Firouzi, a Former Political Activist, Was Arrested in Mashhad

(8) Abbas Lesani’s Family are Experiencing Financial Hardship

(9) Meysam Al-e Mehdi Was Arrested On the 32nd Day of the Protest of the Workers of Iran National Steel Industrial Group

(10) Two Azerbaijani Turkic Minority Rights Activists Were arrested in Urmia

(11) Five Workers Were Injured in Their Workplace in Last Two Days in Asaluyeh and Urmia

(12) A Classroom’s Ceiling Collapse at a Ramhormoz School Injured Two Students

(13) 38 Child Marriages in Eslamabad-e Gharb in Eight Months

(14) More from Iran

        

(1) Esmail Bakhshi Faced New Accusations by the Public Prosecutor’s Office

Farzaneh Zilabi, the defender lawyer of Esmail Bakhshi, the detained worker of Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Business, said that he has a new accusation and it will be investigated in branch 12 at the Revolutionary Court of Ahvaz. Zilabi added: my other case, Ali Nejati, Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Business union member who was arrested recently, has new accusations too.

(2) The Defenders of Human Rights Center Awarded the Human Rights Prize to the Teachers Association of Iran

The Defenders of Human Rights Center awarded the “Human Rights Activist” prize to the “Teachers Association of Iran”. The Defenders of Human Rights Center awards a symbolic statue of Cyrus’ Cylinder
every year on Human Rights Day.

(3) All Rock Concerts Set to be Performed in the Azadi Tower Were Canceled.

Farshad Ramezani the lead singer of Degardis group, confirmed the cancelation of all the planned rock concerts in Azadi tower. Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that Ramezani confirmed the cancelation of his concert and added that Hooman Ajdari, Badzang, and Kanal’s groups concerts were also canceled. He believed this situation is caused by deviant behavior of the other rock groups who had performed earlier in Azadi tower and their fans actions.

(4) Reza Shahabi and Few Other Members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company Were Arrested; the Self-immolation of a Worker

Reza Shahabi and Hassan Saeedi, members of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company and three other people were arrested. They were arrested on December 10 and  have been transferred to the Evin prison but were released on December 11.  In addition, In the last few days, a worker from this company committed suicide by self-immolation because of financial issues.

(5) Arash Keykhosravi Was Released

Arash Keykhosravi, the attorney at law was released on bail of 300 million Tomans [$25000]on December 11, 2018. Ghasem Sholesadi another lawyer was also released on bail on December 4th. These lawyers were sentenced to six years jail time on December 10 and their lawyers appealed to this verdict.

(6) Mohammad Habibi, An Imprisoned Teacher is Suffering from not Receiving Proper Medical Care

Mohammad Habibi did not receive proper medical care although the doctor diagnosed his kidney disease and requested his transfer to a hospital. Prison officers refused and deprived him from getting medical care.

(7) Asghar Firouzi, a Former Political Activist, Was Arrested in Mashhad

Asghar Firouzi,a political activist who spent his jail time before and after Islamic Revolution, was arrested on December 4th in his library in Mashhad suburbs by security forces and was transferred to an unknown place. The reasons behind his arrest were undisclosed.

(8) Abbas Lesani’s Family are Experiencing Financial Hardship

Abbads Lesani, a former political prisoner and an Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activist who resides in Ardabil with his family is experiencing financial hardship. Security forces have shut down his son’s business repeatedly and his son-in-law, who was a contractor at Mohammad Bagher University in Tehran was expelled from his work. They have been notified that his contract was canceled.

(9) Meysam Al-e Mehdi Was Arrested On the 32nd Day of the Protest of the Workers of Iran National Steel Industrial Group

On the 32nd day of the protest of the workers of Iran National Steel Industrial Group, Meysam Al-e Mehdi was arrested. Moreover, the protest of the workers of the Iran National Steel Industrial Group is still ongoing and more than 10 workers were summoned and threatened.

(10) Two Azerbaijani Turkic Minority Rights Activists Were arrested in Urmia

On December 10, Reza Jafarzadeh and Akbar Gholizadeh, Azerbaijani Turkic minority rights activists, were arrested and they have been transferred to an unknown place.

(11) Five Workers Were Injured in Their Workplace in Last Two Days in Asaluyeh and Urmia

According to Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), the gas cylinder explosion in the Ethan production line in Asaluyeh injured four workers. Moreover, a construction worker in Urmia was severely injured in his workplace.

(12) A Classroom’s Ceiling Collapse at a Ramhormoz School Injured Two Students

Omid Hosseinzadeh, the head of Education department of Ramhormoz confirmed that on December 9, 2018 A classroom’s ceiling collapsed at a Ramhormoz school and two students were injured in this incident.

(13) 38 Child Marriages in Eslamabad-e Gharb in Eight Months

The governor of Eslamabad-e Gharb confirmed that there has been more than 1000 marriages registered in the last eight months of the current year. He said that in this city 38 child marriages were submitted. He encouraged families to go to counselling consulting the right age of marriage for their children which would significantly affect their future.

(14) More from Iran

A video was published on social media of a bear cub crying in Shiraz zoo to catch a piece of bread because of hunger attracts attention one more time to the poor animal care in Iran’s zoo.

Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) reported that Two park rangers were injured in an incident with poachers in Taleqan, a county in Alborz province.

Abdolmajid Bahramzehi, the Baluch political prisoner who was detained for the last seven months, has not made any contact with his family in last 53 days. In their last visit 53 days ago, he confirmed that he had been beaten by intelligence officers. His family are concerned about his situation.

Citing Empty Promises from Authorities, Industrial Strikers Persist

Posted on: August 30th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Workers from the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) in Ahvaz and the Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Agro-Business (HTSA) continue to mobilize around enduring contentions with their employers, including delayed wages.

August 29th marked the workers’ 12th day of consecutive striking and pressing for concessions from these two major industries in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.

“Us Haft Tapeh workers pay the price when incompetent managers mess up,” one Haft Tapeh worker told HRANA. “We’re not going anywhere, and if the managers have something to say, let them come and say it to all of us. What kind of murderers are we being taken for when managers who don’t come to work force us to go to Ahvaz?”

Hamid Zarif-Khasraj, head of the local unit of the Shush County welfare and Shush labor office, told HRANA that 6,000 workers are owed three months in back wages, while some of the sugarcane cutters have been working without pay for five. He said his department was “looking into the case” to ensure the latter group gets compensated.

HTSA workers recently learned from their insurance print-outs that their company had changed hands, Zarif-Khasraj said. Concerns over company outsourcing and privatization have been central to the workers’ demands.

According to the country-wide workers’ group Free Labour Union of Iran (FULI), the Shush County governor and other authorities met with workers’ representatives on August 28th. They wanted the strikers to go back to work, but didn’t offer concrete guarantees, FULI said.

When the Shush County governor delivered an address to the workers on Wednesday, in which he made similarly vague promises, he was met with more protests.

Steelworker protest in Ahvaz: Day 11

On August 29th, workers of Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) in Ahvaz continued their 11th straight day of gathering before Khuzestan’s provincial governorate in protest.

“INSIG is dying by the hands of Bank Melli [its owner],” and “death to the oppressor” counted among slogans being chanted by the workers.

INSIG has been at a detrimental shortage of raw material, stalling both production and worker payroll. The company’s CEO Kasra Ghafoori had previously promised raw material by August 28th.

INSIG is a conglomerate employing about 4,000 workers who have not been paid in months. Long wage delays are what sparked initial protests on Saturday, August 18th, where workers demanded payment of four months’ back wages and a renewal of INSIG’s raw material supply.

Protests by Steel and Sugarcane Workers Continue in Southwestern Iran

Posted on: August 26th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Worker protests continued to rock the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan on August 25. Workers of the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) in the provincial center of Ahvaz and those of the Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Agro-Business (HTSA) organized protest gatherings to push their demands.

HTSA workers started the eighth consecutive day of protests by gathering on the factory grounds, HRANA reported.

Speaking on the meeting that HTSA union and representatives had with authorities of Shush county and Khuzestan province, Esmayil Bakhshi, a representative of the workers, said: “I feel sorry for the Provincial Governor who sees us as the enemy. He wasn’t even willing to leave his office to see why the workers are on strike. When we ask for an independent workers’ council to be formed it is so that workers’ direct supervision on state managers would prevent such people from becoming managers and disrespecting workers.”

Nonpayment of wages, the outsourcing of some HTSA departments and other changes in the factory are the major issues expressed by the workers.

HRANA had previously reported on the HTSA strikes.

Protest March of Ahvaz Steelworkers

On August 25th, a group of INSIG workers in Ahvaz marched in front of the provincial governor’s office in the city and asked for their back wages to be paid and for the right to form a workers council.

The workers organized a protest march and chanted slogans including “Our country is full of thieves; nowhere in the world is like this”.

“INSIG wages and benefits have not been paid from March to July and our efforts to follow up have been useless,” one of the workers told the state-run news agency, IRNA. “INSIG has currently zero production. We have been promised that raw material necessary for production will be supplied before the end of the year [Persian calendar year, ending on March 21, 2019.] but there is no hope and no positive perspective. The authorities are not accepting responsibility for paying wages and sending the workers back to work.”

INSIG consists of a range of companies and employs about 4,000 workers who have not been paid for a few months. Their protests began on Saturday, August 18th asking for payment of four months of wages and the supplying of raw material.

Steel and Sugarcane Workers Organize Protests in Southwestern Iran

Posted on: August 22nd, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Worker groups from two major industries in the southwestern province of Khuzestan organized protests on Monday, August 12th outside the office of the local manager of Bank Melli.

Bank Melli is the current owner of the industrial complex housing the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) of Ahvaz and Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Agro-Business (HTSA). Workers from these companies gathered to demand back pay and the right to form independent councils.

August 12th marked the third consecutive day of protests, which workers said they will continue until the company meets their demands.

INSIG’s CEO Kasra Ghafoori voiced to the media his company’s response to the crisis. “I sympathize with the INSIG workers,” he told Iran Labour News Agency (ILNA). “It’s hard to live when you haven’t been paid for four months, but INSIG’s raw materials will be provided by next week.”

INSIG is among a group of companies founded by Amir Mansoor-Aria’s Ahvaz-based investment group. After Mansoor-Aria was displaced from management due to criminal convictions, the Iranian Judiciary assumed control of the company until its recent privatization.

All told, INSIG companies employ about 4,000 workers, none of which have been paid in the past few months. Worker frustrations culminated in a new wave of protests on Saturday, August 18th.

Update:

The workers of Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Agro-Business (HTSA) continued to strike in front of factory management offices on the fourth day of consecutive protests.

Employees across company sections joined in a chant of “You’re a disgrace, Ghafari”, asking for dismissal of the sector’s manager.

The workers demanded the company resolve insurance payments, provide 1,500-day contracts for workers, and communicate transparently on the recent outsourcing of one of HTSA’s sections and the company’s uncertain future.

One of the workers stated that the company has yet to deliver on their promises to secure worker contracts and benefits.

HRANA reported that INSIG and HTSA protests were still active as of Monday, August 20th.

Update: Wednesday August 22, 2018

For the fifth day in a row, workers of the Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Agro-Business (HTSA) gathered in protest in front of the company’s security department.

Payment of delayed wages and stopping the company’s breaking up and privatization are among the demands made by the workers during this protest. The workers are also demanding “intervention by high-ranking provincial authorities on the question of the company’s management,” HTSA’s trade union has said.

Esmayil Bakhshi, the workers’ representative, gave a speech in today’s gathering and spoke of workers that have self-immolated under the pressure of authorities.

“To solve this problem of the workers, they were sent to different departments for a while,” Bakhshi said. “but it turned out that they wanted to fire them. After they chose self-immolation, instead of solving their problems, they asked them why did they want to burn themselves and ruin the company’s reputation?”

“The security department managers have lost or changed their real mission for years now,” Bakhshi said. “The real mission of this department should be to create a safe and secure space for workers for them to do their work in utmost security. For years, however, they’ve tried their best to disrupt the security of workers.”

The worker representative then spoke about the new manager of the security department who has a past in the police force.

“If you are here to follow that same mission, we will support you,” he said. “But you have been a police commander before and are now a manager. This is a working-class environment, not a military barracks. If you stand with workers, we will stand with you. If you stand against workers, we will stand up to you. So, do your real job!”

Esmayil Bakhshi addressed the employers at the end of his speech: “We are ready for negotiations. The only solution is for you to talk to us so that we can solve the problems.”

The workers of HTSA have repeatedly organized strikes and gatherings to protest the contract conditions, worker expulsions, wage delays and privatization of the company assets.

Update: Thursday, August 23, 2018

On Thursday, August 23rd, workers of the Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Agro-Business (HTSA) in southwestern Iran started the sixth day of their strike. A number of authorities, including the agriculture minister, came to visit the workers and follow up on their grievances.

In addition to the Minister of Agriculture, the Governor General of the Khuzestan province and a representative of the Shush County governor’s office met with the workers.

Before the meeting, HTSA workers had addressed an open letter to the authorities.

“The community of Haft Tape workers will stand behind their valiant representatives, absolutely and to the last breath. If they are met with any harm or accusation, all workers of this company will back their representatives and will not stop supporting them under any circumstances,” the letter said.

“Our gatherings have been aimed at demanding our rights and asking for help from the respected authorities. Our demands from the beginning have been aimed at driving out the capitalists from this region and bringing the company back into public ownership. We have been working in a very calm environment, away from threats, violence and anti-government slogans. It is now the turn of the respected authorities of the county, the province and the country to give what is the right of the devout and hardworking workers of this land and to put an end to years of injustice that has brought suffering to the workers, their families and the people of this region,” the letter continued.

“We will follow up on the grievances of the retired workers and payment of their pensions,” Agriculture Minister Mahmood Hojatti said.