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Solidarity group calls for release of trade unionist on hunger strike

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People's Rights (CODIR) has called upon the labour and trade movement internationally to take urgent action in calling for the release of Shahrokh Zamani, a trade unionist currently on hunger strike in Iran. Zamani was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for his pro trade union activities. Arrested in June 2011, Zamani was convicted of charges including "acting against national security by establishing or membership of groups opposed to the system" and "spreading propaganda against the establishment". These charges are widely used by the Iranian state to intimidate and imprison those engaged in trade union activity. Zamani has been on hunger strike since 8th March 2014. The hunger strike began in the Gohar Dasht prison in solidarity with other political prisoners. Three days into the action the prison management decided to transfer of Zamani to Ghezel Hesar prison, with no explanation or justification. In protest Zamani continued his hunger strike. He has spent eight days in solitary confinement since his transfer to Ghezel Hesar prison. So far he has lost seventeen kilos of his body weight. Zamani is a member of the Syndicate of Paint Workers of Tehran but the regime in Iran does not recognise independent trade unions and many trade unionists have been arrested for attempting to organise such bodies. ...more
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Free Bahareh Hedayat!

JANE GREEN, CODIR's National Campaigns Officer, highlights the plight of women political prisoners in Iran

Having just marked International Women's Day on the 8th March, Jane Green considers the wider situation for women in Iran and the plight of one political prisoner in particular. Bahareh Hedayat, will be 32 years old in next month. She looks likely to mark that birthday in prison unless the Iranian government can be persuaded to free her. Hedayat is one of the leaders of the powerful student movement in Iran and a woman's rights activist. She was a member of the Executive Committee and spokesperson for Iran's pro-democracy student movement, the Daftar-e Takhim-Vahdat (Office for Consolidating Unity). She was also an initiator and active in the One Million Signatures Campaign that seeks to end legal discrimination against women in Iran. ...more
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Codir Bulletin - March 2014

In this issue

- Free Bahareh Campaign Page 2

- Women demand real change Page 3

- Women mayor in Baluchestan! Page 4

- Free Reza Shahabi NOW! Page 4

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Free Bahareh Hedayat! Women's Rights Campaigner, Student Leader

Bahareh Hedayat, who will be 32 years old in just under a month, looks likely to mark that birthday in prison. She is one of the leaders of the powerful student movement in Iran and a woman's rights activist. She was a member of the Executive Committee and spokesperson for Iran's pro-democracy student movement, the Daftar-e Takhim-Vahdat (Office for Consolidating Unity). She was also active in the One Million Signatures Campaign that seeks to end legal discrimination against women in Iran.

"We have been pressured and pummelled but have neither broken nor bent. We have stood firmly, but with anxious and broken hearts, we have witnessed the plunder and despotic destruction of a flower pot for which our predecessors and us have toiled and laboured to see its growth and flourishing." (Message from Bahareh Hedayat in prison, on the occasion of 7th December 2010, National Student Day in Iran).

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DOCUMENT - IRAN: THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL'S WRITTEN STATEMENT TO THE 25TH SESSION OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL (3-28 MARCH 2014)

Amnesty International submits this statement to the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council on the third anniversary of the house arrests of two Iranian opposition leaders and 2009 presidential candidates, Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and the latter?s wife, university professor and political figure Zahra Rahnavard, who remain in detention without charge or trial, with no possibility to challenge the lawfulness of their detention. On 14 February 2011, the Iranian authorities placed all three opposition figures under de facto house arrest after Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi called for demonstrations in support of the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa region. Despite international calls for their release, the authorities continue to hold these opposition figures and monitor their communications. Their families have also been harassed and persecuted, including by having restricted contact with them and being targeted for arrest. The three opposition figures remain in a legal limbo as no security body is claiming responsibility for their prolonged house arrest amid contradictory official statements. ...more
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IRAN: RELEASE OPPOSITION LEADERS UNDER HOUSE ARREST THREE YEARS ON

The easing of restrictions placed on former presidential candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, university professor and political activist, Zahra Rahnavard, since the election of President Rouhani is not enough, warned Amnesty International on the third anniversary of the house arrest of the three opposition figures. The opposition leaders have been held without charge or trial for three years, with no possibility to challenge the lawfulness of their detention. The organization urges the Iranian authorities to immediately end their arbitrary detention and stop the harassment of their families. The three opposition figures remain in a legal limbo as no security body is claiming responsibility for their prolonged house arrest amid contradictory official statements. In October 2013, Iran's Justice Minister, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, said that Iran's Supreme National Security Council was reviewing their house arrests but a month later Iran's Prosecutor General and Judiciary spokesperson, Gholamhossein Mohseni Eje'i, said that "those who were put under house arrest after the 2009 election were criminals and had oppressed the people," and that "no changes have been made in their punishment." On 16 January 2014, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi stated during a conference that the "country would have witnessed renewed protest, unrest, and demonstrations had there been a trial" and therefore authorities have determined that "they should remain restricted." On 4 February 2014,

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Iran's trade unions take complaint to ILO

The Union of Metalworkers and Mechanics of Iran, an independent labour union which is registered in 1960 under number 34 in accordance with the state laws, and defends the interests and rights of industrial workers of Iran, hereby would like to submit and file its formal grievance against the employers and Ministry of Labour of Iran for their refusal and failure to implement various Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in direct relation to health and safety in workplaces. Please remit our grievance to the special commission to review and make a decision about the matter. As you are aware, several workplace accidents in recent weeks - which were preventable- have led to injury and death of a large number of workers. A list of a few of these tragic occupational accidents which have been documented and were denoted in our recent official communique dated 20th January 2014 is submitted along with this grievance for ILO information and records. ...more
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Profiteering through massacre of workers

ILNA, 19 January 2014: "two female workers were killed in a fire that broke out in a textile workshop."

The news was short, but the depth of the disaster was immense. The women who were working out of desperation in dungeons called "workshops" to provide for their working class family, will never return home.

Fatality of workers because of profiteering of employers and lack of monitoring by the inspectors of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has become common [in Iran]. On the day before the above-mentioned fatal accident, three well-digging workers in Argentine Square in Tehran lost their lives under the rubbles of the collapsed well. On January 12th, a worker died after falling from a building scaffold in Mashhad. On January 8th, five members of the technical crew died in an explosion during a filming project. ...more
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Press Release - Solidarity group steps up campaign for the release of imprisoned trade union leaders and activists!

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People's Rights (CODIR) has called upon the labour and trade movement internationally to take urgent action in defence of Iranian workers and trade unionists who are engaged in a difficult struggle for better pay and conditions of work. CODIR regards the current period as an important opportunity to put effective pressure upon the government of President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected last year on a promise of reform inside Iran. Since his election Rouhani has tried to show a different face internationally, resulting in the interim agreement on nuclear inspections. However, CODIR is keen to make sure that Rouhani's declared willingness to reform is tested on the domestic front too, where there has been insignificant movement on the question of human rights, respect for basic trade union rights and the freeing of political prisoners. ...more
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Iran's Trade Unions call for urgent action: Let's all campaign for the freedom of our imprisoned trade unionist brothers!

With regards to deterioration of Reza Shahabi's health which was pointed out in the latest statement of Tehran Bus Transit Workers Union (Syndica Vahed), in the most recent visit of Reza Shahabi with his family, the impact and signs of pain and suffering were sadly apparent on his face. The aforesaid statement reads: "Drawing the attention of reputable labour and human rights organizations to continue the campaign for release of this labour rights activists [i.e. Reza Shahabi], the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company once again demands his immediate release from prison and his urgent and effective medical treatment. We request from the authorities to arrange for immediate payment of his deferred unpaid wages so that the family- wife and two student children- of this imprisoned and tormented worker at least could manage the economic hardship and backbreaking high expenses of daily life and their rent." ...more
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Exclusive report from Iran on trade union issues - Iranian workers' life and death struggle for justice continues - Urgent call for solidarity

The following statement, from the Union of Metalworkers and Mechanic Workers of Iran, outlines the difficult conditions facing employees within the automobile industry in Iran. Trades union organisation, as defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), is effectively outlawed in Iran. This situation encourages employers to behave in ways which can only be described as unscrupulous and in contravention of internationally accepted standards in employer/employee relations. The statement attached by the Metalworkers Union draws particular attention to several areas of concern for trade unionists including,
  • The impact of international sanctions upon ordinary workers in Iran. Sanctions imposed by Western governments have not been called for by Iranian trade unionists and are having a detrimental impact upon the lives of ordinary people in the country;

  • Working conditions are changed arbitrarily by management and give employees no job security;

  • Deductions from pay are made to support projects and campaigns supported by management without employee consent, in spite of pay levels being below those of the official poverty levels in Iran;

  • Basic health and safety requirements are flouted or ignored resulting in increased sickness and workplace accidents.
  • ...more
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In Defence of Human Rights in Iran

On the occasion of 10th December 2013, the 65th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Today, 10th December, marks the 65th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While the Islamic Republic of Iran is a signatory to the Declaration, the reality of life in Iran today suggests that the Islamic Republic is merely paying lip service to its obligations rather than taking them seriously. Jamshid Ahmadi, CODIR's Assistant General Secretary reports.

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains thirty articles covering a wide range of issues designed to be "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations", opening with the famous first sentence of Article 1,

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."

It would be easier to try and identify the few articles with which the Islamic Republic of Iran comes close to complying rather then enumerating those many articles it breeches. Nevertheless, a few examples serve to illustrate the gap between the aspirations of the UN Declaration and the reality of life in Iran. ...more
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CODIR condemns execution of ethnic minority Arabs

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People's Rights (CODIR) has today condemned the execution of four members of the Arab minority in Iran. The four men had been sentenced to death on 15th August 2012 for the vaguely worded charges of "enmity against God" and "corruption on earth". The charges related to a series of shootings that had allegedly led to the deaths of a police officer and a soldier. The men all categorically denied any involvement in the shootings, saying their "confessions" had been obtained under torture and they had recanted them in court. However these claims of torture have not been investigated. Torture and ill treatment, particularly during pre-trial detention, are common in Iran and are committed with impunity.

These executions are the latest in a long line of executions of political prisoners. Since September a number of political prisoners in Kurdistan and Baluchistan have also been executed. Following the election victory of Hassan Rouhani, who was elected on an allegedly reformist platform, atrocity and political execution in Iran has continued unabated. CODIR has made it clear previously, and repeats its view, that if Rouhani's reformist credentials are to have any currency he must stop such atrocities immediately. ...more
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IRAN: President Rouhani must deliver on human rights promises

In the first 100 days of President Rouhani's government, human rights in Iran have remained a low priority despite earlier promises made during the presidential campaign, said Amnesty International. The organization urges the Iranian authorities to go beyond the rhetoric and to take urgent and concrete measures? to address the country's deplorable human rights situation. On 24 November 2013, President Rouhani posted on Twitter "[t]omorrow is 100th day since cabinet was formed & government has been in office. Glad to have reached agreement before 100th day". For years, Iran's human rights situation has been overshadowed, both internationally and at home, by discussions about the country's nuclear programme. Now that an agreement has been reached, there must not be any more delays in addressing Iran's dire human rights situation, as shown by the United Nations General Assembly resolution, overwhelmingly adopted on 19 November 2013.

...more
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CODIR Bulletin March 2014
 
CODIR Bulletin September 2013
 
CODIR Bulletin May 2013
 
CODIR Bulletin March/April 2013
 
Iran Today Sep 2012
 
Iran Today Sep 2011
 
Iran Today Vol21 No2
 
Iran Today Vol21 No1
 
Iran Today Vol2 No1
 
Iran Today Vol2 No2

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