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Regime’s Cynical Tour of Notorious Evin Prison for Ambassadors

In early July 2017, representatives of 45 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America visited Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, the site of the murder of many political prisoners and where currently many women and men are held in breach of their human rights, Evinamong them are Atena Daemi, Golrokh Iraee, Narges Mohammadi and Maryam Akbari Monfared. Amnesty International (AI) has reported on the cynical measure of the Islamic Republican Regime and has called it a ‘Public Relations stunt’. Below is the text of AI’s report.

‘Last week the Iranian authorities arranged a rare visit to one of the country’s most infamous prisons for representatives of up to 45 foreign diplomatic missions from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

The authorities made no secret of the fact that the tour of Evin Prison in Tehran was designed to counter negative human rights reports about the prison, and showcase the “excellent facilities” on offer which include an in-house beauty salon, gym, library and restaurant.
In the days that followed, state media outlets were flooded with news stories praising conditions at the prison including congratulatory comments from Indian, Indonesian, Portuguese and South Korean delegates. Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani, the accomplished Iranian mathematician, died on Saturday 15th July at the age of 40, due to breast cancer. She maryam-Mirzakhanileaves a daughter and a husband. She studied in Tehran’s Sharif University and went to Harvard for her PhD, which she completed in 2004. Tributes have been paid to her nationally and internationally, by academics who knew her professionally, praising her for her remarkable intellect and contribution to mathematics.
Her significance, as a woman from Iran, is ever more remarkable given the disdain that the ruling regime shows women and the impediments it engineers in their development, socially, economically, and politically; and the way it has hampers the development of so many girls and young women in science and education. The achievements of Maryam Mirzakhani find even greater importance in this context. She was a positive role model for so many young girls, whose interests and talents in all fields of education are neglected by a patriarchal and misogynistic system of government, and its laws and artificially imposed social norms. Read the rest of this entry »

8th of March, the day of solidarity of women all over the world

Jam'iat_e_nesvan_e_vatan-khah01The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women issued a statement on the International Women’s Day: “Greetings to all hard-working women, on the occasion of 8th March, the day of solidarity with the struggle of women the world over, for freedom from sexual and class exploitation, for a better world, free from poverty, violence, war and exploitation, a world of equal rights.
The 8th of March is not only a reminder of the relentless struggle of workers for their rights against discrimination and inequality, but also an occasion to honour a century and a half of women’s movement with its successes and setbacks – a movement whose achievements have changed the face of the world in the interest of working and deprived people, especially women.
This day is also irrevocably linked with the name and memory of its founder, Clara Zetkin, one of the renowned leaders of the German communist and working class movement. For the first time, in the conference of socialist women in 1910, she proposed this day as the day of commemoration of the women workers in USA who had been gunned down by the police to protect the interests of capitalism. In the following year, in 1911, the second international accepted this proposal and since then, the international women’s day has been commemorated by progressive women in different countries, as their conditions allow.
The 8th March is not merely a day of celebration, it is the day of renewal of our resolve to uphold the values for which the world’s communists and progressives, and women at their helm, have fought:  freedom from sexual and class exploitation. Today, more than 150 years after its inception, this struggle of women worldwide has had immense achievements such as raising awareness about the role of women in society, it has succeeded in bringing about the preliminary conditions for ending sexual inequality, such as ending numerous misogynistic laws in patriarchal societies, and the realisation of the social, economic and political rights of women in many countries in the world. In addition, the effective role of women in the anti-war movement, against poverty and violence and for the environment, has turned women’s movement into an effective force in political developments in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesdays – Special Days for Imprisoned Mothers and their Little Children

Narges Mohammadi, the human rights activist who has spent years in the Islamic Republic’s prisons for trumped up charges, has written a report on the visiting day in the women’s ward of Evin Political Prison in Tehran.Narges Mohammadi and kids

“There are special days in Evin prison that mean a lot to the imprisoned women. Eight of 31 women held there, namely Maryam Akbarimonfared, Leila Jama’at, Nigara Afsharzadeh, Nargess Mohammadi, Zahra Zehtabchi, Fatemeh Mossana, Azita Rafeezadeh and Nazanin Zaghari have very young children.
According to prison regulations, very young children can visit their mothers on Wednesdays from 1 to 2 PM. The meetings are held inside the prison hall and observed by prison guards and 5 CCTV cameras. The children are accompanied by their families to the prison’s gate, and then guided by the officials from there towards the meeting hall to see their mothers for about an hour.
On Wednesdays, all the mothers in the women’s ward are excited and look forward to seeing their kids. Azita begins to Read the rest of this entry »

The poor reduced to sheltering in Graves, and the Regime’s Response

In recent weeks the scenes of destitute men, women and children taking shelter from the bitter cold in empty graves has shocked the people of grave-dwellersIran. In December 2016, the daily Shahrvand reported that in the Municipality of Shariar in Western Province of Tehran, the cold of winter has forced around 50 homeless people who usually sleep in cardboard covers, to take shelter in 20 of the 300 graves that have been prepared for burials in the large scale graveyard of Nasir Abad Baghestan. The reporter found 3-4 people occupying each of the graves that are 1.5 meters deep. Some homeless families live in tents in the area around the graveyard or under the viaduct. The homeless shelter here during the night. In the course of the day they leave their meagre belongings in the graves and try to source food or beg in the surrounding area. Their belongings which consist of torn blankets or clothes are prone to being stolen by other grave-dwellers. These graves are a short distance from those that house the dead following daily burials nearby.
According to the cemetery’s keeper, the grave-dwellers first moved in about a month previously. The boundary wall is low enough for them to scale it and although the officials had chased them away, they would keep returning. Many of them were picked up by the police and moved to ‘camps’ (for the homeless) but they escaped and returned to the graveyard. He also thought that: “nearly all of them are drug addicts. There are two women and an 8 year old child. They are also addicts. Opposite the cemetery, 100 meters away, there is also an old woman with two sons and her daughters-in-law and grand-children living in a tent. The old woman and one of her sons are addicts. There are more of them. A bit further along, under the bridge, there are a couple who have come from the provinces. They also live in a tent but they aren’t addicts.” Read the rest of this entry »

International campaign for the release of Narges Mohammadi, Civil & Women’s Rights Activist

narges-mohamadiNarges Mohammadi, the civil and human rights activist in Iran, is a prisoner of conscience held in Evin prison, with thirty two other women.  Mrs Mohammadi, a mother of two, who has already served several prison sentences in the last decade, was re-tried recently and was sentenced to a further 16 years.

 Narges Mohammadi is the Vice President of the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran. The Centre and its leader, Shirin Ebadi issued an appeal some time ago, in which they called on “all individuals and organisations, who defend human rights and freedom of speech” to do all they can in an international solidarity campaign to bring about the release of Narges Mohammadi.  In her appeal published on 15th October, 2016, Shirin Ebadi, who is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, pointed out that the Iranian Judiciary and Security authorities have handed out a heavy sentence of 16 years in order “not only to silence human rights activists but also to show everyone how heavy the price of freedom of speech is in Iran”. Read the rest of this entry »

Mass dismissal of Women Workers in Iran

Based on the official statistics, 43 thousand women have been laid off recently while on maternity leave. The dismissal of these 43 thousand women has been officially endorsed and confirmed and as such has put the job security of working women at risk. Given the prevailing conditions women wave their right, and avoid taking maternity leave.1074861_794-1-e1476481840104
The mass dismissal of women who are in employment is happening at a time when, according to the Managing Director of the Organization of Small Industries and the Industrial Parks of Iran, there are 88,000 licensed industries in Iran, about 90 percent of which are considered small enterprises with fewer than 50 employees, and 4,500 are considered medium-sized, which employ 50 to 100 employees. Women form at least 10-20 percent of the workforce of these workplaces and another 2.8 million registered commercial units across the country.
These figures paint a clear picture of the depth of lawlessness and discrimination against women, and the poverty and hardship that women in blue and white collar jobs face because of the misogynistic and anti-worker policies of the regime. Read the rest of this entry »

Appeal by the Mothers of Laleh Park

mothers of laale parkIn May 2016 the women who have come together under the banner Mothers of Laleh Park Iran and who have been campaigning against human rights violations in Iran, issued an open letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as shown here:

“May 2016
From: Mothers of Park Laleh Iran, (www.mpliran.net)

To:
Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Cc:
- Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
- Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran
- Mr. Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
- Mr. Juan Mendez, UN Special Repporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Human Rights Watch
- International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
- Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights
- Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC)
- Amnesty International”

“We Demand an Intensive Investigation on the Violation of Human Rights in Iran and Ask for the Authorities to Be Held Accountable.
The systematic violation of human rights in Iran is beyond description and we must find a way to put an end to it. Freedom of thought and expression is virtually non-existent in our country. No dissidents, whether social and political activists, or religious minorities such as Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sunni, atheists and people with diverse ethnic Read the rest of this entry »

Issues Facing the Women’s Movement (pt 2)

The regime of Supreme Religious Leader has adopted different tactics in dealing with the women’s movement and despite 994-women-p8all the restrictions it has imposed on women, the regime has not succeeded in suppressing the movement completely. The statistics on women’s employment during the last ten years are cause for serious concern for women’s activists. One of the means the regime uses is to restrict women’s engagement in social matters. This has been confirmed over and again by the most senior members of the ruling regime. There is not doubt that the current and deliberate policies of the regime will result in even worse statistics in a short time. While the number of women in higher education has grown, this has not resulted in an increase in employment. This is due to the fact that the sinister policy that the medieval regime has pursued for a long time, has borne fruit and the superior position of women in the social movements in the country will be weakened substantially. Women’s rights activists must study this situation with great care and devise a way of countering it. Read the rest of this entry »

Issues Facing the Women’s Movement

The following is an account of some of the issues that face Iranian women.994-women-p8
“…The world has been witness to immense technological development and progress in the 21st century. These developments have had profound effect on our way of living, working and on individuals’ social relations. The effect of these changes has been significant in communications too. In addition to new problems, today’s world has been faced with new possibilities too. In the field of communications, the reach of news has extended to the most isolated places, and this can lead to public opinion being mobilised around vital issues.
It would not be an exaggeration to say the in many arenas of life we women continue to face massive problems. This is cause for sadness and concern…”. Read the rest of this entry »