iranhr.net – Over a year after the start of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement, the plight of Iranian human rights defenders continues to be a matter of grave concern, as they face imprisonment, persecution, and harsh sentences for their unwavering dedication to advancing fundamental human rights in Iran. This Iran Human Rights report presents profiles of more than 150 courageous individuals, including lawyers, teachers, minority rights activists, women’s rights activists, journalists, workers rights activists, environmentalists, families seeking justice, civil rights activists and artists, who have been targeted for their defence of human rights. Yet, this list is a small window into the deteriorating situation of human rights defenders in Iran. These defenders, collectively sentenced to more than 541 years in prison and 577 lashes, stand as stark examples of the ongoing crackdown on those working tirelessly to promote justice, equality, and freedom in Iran.
The report is launched on the eve of 10 December, International Human Rights Day, which this year coincides with the awarding ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize to Narges Mohammadi, one of the defenders featured in this report. Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Narges Mohammadi holds profound significance for the plight of human rights defenders in Iran. As a prominent human rights defender, Narges has fearlessly defended the human rights of the most voiceless, championing minorities’ rights, women’s rights, and the abolition of the death penalty in Iran.
On the launch of this report Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO) calls on the international community to demonstrate a more active and resolute support for Iranian defenders, who stand unwaveringly on the frontlines of the battle for fundamental human rights.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the Director of IHRNGO said: “As the international community bears witness to the alarming escalation of human rights violations within Iran, it is imperative to recognise the unyielding spirit of these individuals and to extend unwavering support to their cause”. He added: “Awarding the Nobel Peace to Narges Mohammadi amplifies her voice and shines a spotlight on the resilience and determination of human rights defenders in Iran, while urging the international community to stand in solidarity with those who courageously advocate for a more just and free society”.
Among those featured in this report, there are several lawyers who were targeted for representing “Woman, Life, Freedom” protesters. 26-year-old pro bono lawyer Maryam Arvin died under suspicious circumstances less than a month after being released from prison. Another lawyer, Amirhossein Kouhkan, represents the family of executed protester Mohammad Mehdi Karami. In August 2023, a week after his father Mashallah Karami was arrested, Amirhossein was also arrested when he went to follow up on his case.
This report includes more than 150 human rights defenders who were jailed or had active legal cases between 1 December 2022-1 December 2023. It is important to note that this is a partial list and does not include the many defenders who have faced harassment, summons or threats. Many defenders have also not been included due to lack of accurate information and some were excluded at their specific request.
Nevertheless, this report is a window to the situation of human rights defenders in Iran over the last year. Defenders who have refused to stay silent even behind the bars. Through protests and hunger strikes within the confinements of prison walls and letters and voice messages, they continue to make their voices heard and to stand up for human rights, knowing the punishments they will face at the hands of their jailers. It should be noted that some defenders remain in prison due to their inability to afford bail.
In publishing this report, IHRNGO hopes it will provide new insights into the deteriorating situation of human rights in Iran, offer accurate information to researchers and journalists, and assist human rights defenders and concerned citizens around the world in educating and informing about the fortitude of ordinary Iranians, seeking to improve the lives of others, at their own risk. It also calls on the international community and all states with diplomatic relations with Iran, to demand the immediate release of all imprisoned human rights defenders. We also call upon civil society and members of the public all over the world to read their stories, learn their names, and join us in not only demanding their freedom and that of all HRDs but also amplifying their voices demanding basic fundamental rights for all Iranians.