FOUR Nobel peace laureates added their voices today to international condemnation of Iran’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters that has left at least 250 dead.
Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi was joined by Leymah Gbowee from Liberia, Guatemala’s Rigoberta Menchu Tum and US campaigner Jody Williams in speaking out against the suppression of demonstrations in Iran last week.
They called for an end to the theocratic regime’s detention and killing of protesters as well as the lifting of internet restrictions, which have cut off access to information from the outside world.
In a statement, they said: “The Islamic Republic is trying to suppress the voice of citizens through arrest, murder and censorship.
“We condemn the restriction of freedom of expression and suppression of protests associated with arbitrary arrest and killing.”
Since the uprising began last week, at least 250 people are believed to have been killed by Iran’s security services, with at least 3,700 injured. While restrictions make it difficult to obtain information, credible reports suggest that thousands have been detained by the authorities.
The protests began after a rise in fuel prices, but discontent has been simmering in Iran for a number of years as the flagging economy creates economic hardship.
Authorities have responded harshly to a number of labour disputes, including a national teachers’ strike and industrial action by lorry drivers. Union leaders and activists have been jailed and some have reported being tortured while in detention.
International Trade Union Congress general secretary Sharan Burrow warned last week that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s declaration of victory over the demonstrators was “reminiscent of President [Sebastian] Pinera’s declaration of war against protesters in Chile.”
She urged Iranian authorities to support and respect the country’s people by tackling the causes of mounting popular anger.
Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (Codir) general secretary Jamshid Ahmadi told the Star: “As the true frightening dimensions of the repressive measures brought down upon the protesters begin to be revealed, it is clear that the theocratic regime is intent on regaining full control of the situation at any price.
“The regime intends to instil fear in the minds of those opposing its rule – that either they should obey the system or accept the consequences.
“But this facade of the regime is crumbling as the opposition continues despite the crackdown.”
Source: Morning Star