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Solidarity Statement on the Global Day of Action for Human Rights in Iran

Monday 27 July 2009, by admin

Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice

Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition

Solidarity Statement on the Global Day of Action for Human Rights in Iran

On the occasion of the Global Day of Action for Human Rights in Iran,
members of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition
(WHRD IC) express solidarity with the civil society in Iran in their
struggle to demand that the leaders of the regime respect women’s
rights and uphold their human rights as guaranteed in the Iranian
constitution and in international human rights covenants that Iran has
signed.

As the protests over the disputed outcome of the presidential
elections intensify, the Coalition are deeply concerned about the
safety and security of the following women human rights defenders who
have been arbitrarily arrested and still remain in detention for their
courageous acts of advocating for women’s human rights and fundamental
freedoms:

SHADI SADR, a human rights lawyer, journalist and a prominent women’s
human rights advocate was abducted and violently arrested on 17 July;

ZHILA BANIYAGHOUB, a women’s human rights activist and journalist was
arrested with her husband, Bahman Amouiee, also a women’s human rights
activist and journalist, on 20 June;

SHIVA NAZARAHARI, also a women’s rights and human rights activist and
blogger, was arrested on 14 June;

Mahsa Amrabadi, a journalist and supporter of women’s human rights,
was arrested in her home on 14 June. She is pregnant and her husband,
Masoud Bastani, a journalist, was arrested when he was following up
her case in the judiciary on 5 July;

Hengameh Shahidi, a journalist and civil rights activist, was arrested
on 18 June;

Zahra Touhidi, a student activist, was arrested in her home on 18
June. Her husband was arrested as well.

Somayeh Tohidlou, PhD student, blogger, member of the Mousavi
Campaign, was arrested on 14 June.

The WHRD IC is concerned by arbitrary arrest and detention of Iranian
women human rights defenders, in particular these seven women human
rights defenders. The members of the Coalition are further concerned
that the arrest and detention of some of them might be related to
their participation in campaigns against discriminatory laws and the
peaceful defence of women human rights.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran cited eyewitness
accounts of the leading role of women in standing up to government
forces to protect those coming under attacks: “What was significant,
in contrast to previous protests, was that people would not run away
as they came under attack, but held their own. Particularly the women
who would respond to the security forces said, ‘Why should we run?
This is our country, this is our land, and we cannot be pushed out of
our land. These sidewalks are ours. Who are you to tell us to go away,
we shall not go.’

The WHRD IC applauds and supports the efforts of the ‘Mothers of
Peace’ and ‘Mothers Mourning’ who have protected activists under
attack and organised silent protests for peace every Saturday to
honour the activism of their killed, arrested or disappeared children
in Iran. In June, several of their members were arrested during one
of their protests and were only released 2 or 3 days later.

Women human rights defenders have been at the forefront in the defence
of human rights and are entitled to the rights specified under the UN
Declaration Human Rights Defenders and guaranteed under the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Iran signed.
The continuing violent repression of internationally guaranteed human
rights in Iran and the growing brutality in the hands of state agents
of at least 4,000 reported to be detained, hundreds beaten and
injured, and an unknown number of killed and those whose whereabouts
are unknown, the WHRD IC are gravely concerned that unless the
political issues are resolved with full respect for the rights and
freedoms of the Iranian peoples, more women human rights defenders and
other defenders will be put at risk.

On this Day of Global Action for Human Rights in Iran, the members of
the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition join the
international human rights community to demand:

1. The immediate and unconditional release of Shadi Sadr, Mahsa
Amrabadi, Zhila Baniyaghoub, Shiva Nazarahari, Zahra Touhidi, Hengameh
Shahidi, Somayeh Tohidlou and other women human rights defenders and
all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience including
students, journalists and civil society activists;

2. The UN Secretary General to immediately appoint a delegation
to travel to Iran to investigate the fate of prisoners as well as many
disappeared persons;

3. An end to State-sponsored violence and accountability for
crimes committed by the State and its agents;

4. Freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom of
press as guaranteed by the Iranian constitution and Iran’s obligations
under international covenants it has signed.

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