Severe living conditions and increasing economic problems in Iran, partly as a result of international sanctions, could lead to more unrest in the country in the coming months. Revolutionary Guard commander Naser Shabani predicted that this time “the unrest would start from remote cities in the country rather than Tehran,” BBC Persian [fa] reports. Shabani [...]
Arseh Sevom- The end of January 2012 witnessed a further escalation in human rights violations in Iran. The ongoing repression continued with the arrest of two journalists, both women: Parastoo Dokoohaki and Marzieh Rasooli. The arrests of Mohammad Solimaninya, a website administrator and owner of Social Network for Iranian Professionals (www.u24.ir) that hosts and designs a number of civil society websites, ten Sunni Muslims in Ahwaz, as well as the shocking confirmation of the death sentence for Iranian-Canadian Saeed Malekopour, are just a few examples of the human rights situation in Iran in January alone.
Board member Fred Petrossians, writing for Global Voices discusses rumors and plans for total control of the internet by the Iranian state:
Iranian authorities see the internet as a real battleground and consider citizen media and social networking as tools of “soft war”. Over several years they claim to have blocked and filtered millions of websites and blogs. Now several bloggers have reported that Iran’s Corporate Computer Systems say the goal is for Iran to be entirely cut off from the World Wide Web once the country launches its own national internet network.
Antonia Bertschinger tells us of her work at the Swiss section of Amnesty International. She tells us how she came to be involved with human rights work. Bertschinger came to the work via her interest in Afghanistan. She studied Persian in university and worked in the Kabul Museum in Switzerland. “I loved working there because it helped me learn so much about Afghanistan. This did some awareness raising for me to learn what it’s like to live in a country where all the rights are violated, especially women’s rights, and which had such a long war, and so many other disasters. She ended up working in the Foreign Ministry in Iran rather than win Afghanistan, however. It was there that she met so many people working to build a better society and for the protection of human rights. Bertschinger asks of her own home in Europe, “How can we ever forget that human rights and the rule of law are the basis of our good life?”
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The UN Special Rapporteur has released an initial report on the human rights situation in Iran. The report highlights several disturbing trends, which serve to cripple civil society activism. The report shows a concerted effort to prevent dissent and the development of an independent civil society by severely punishing those who speak out or act in a way deemed inappropriate or threatening by the state. In many cases, punishment is exacted for activities that were once sanctioned. The report demonstrates a clear trend towards increased state violence and disregard for its own legal system and constitution.
Some of the trends revealed in the report include:
- Exorbitant bails
- Persistent punishments
- Lack of due process
- High number of executions
- Muzzling activists and critics
- Religious intolerance
- Denial of health care
It all began with a simple message. An Iranian internet user was trying to connect to Google using the Chrome browser. Strangely enough, his browser flashed a message telling him that the security certificate he was using to access Google was not theirs. The user went to Google’s help forums to follow up on this and an investigation followed which uncovered a secretive, but highly explosive plot: a security firm in the Netherlands, DigiNotar, had seemingly provided a certificate to “someone” in Iran that allowed access to all secure traffic over Google within Iran.
Arseh Sevom, 3 May 2011- In a deliberate move to attack democratic organizations, the Iranian Parliament’s joint commission has simultaneously approved a bill requiring supervision over Members of Parliament, and is considering a restrictive bill to reform the Political Parties Law. This is happening despite the fact that, due to pressures resulting from the opposition of Iranian civic organizations, the Iranian Parliament has suspended its review of the proposed bill on the Establishment and Supervision of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) for a period of three months.
These efforts collectively show that the Islamic Republic has made an organized attempt to eliminate all civic and democratic organizations in Iranian society. Arseh Sevom warns that these policies will lead to the destruction of the remnants of civic and semi-democratic organizations through the creation of supervisory committees. Arseh Sevom urges Representatives of the Islamic Consultative Assembly to remove from its agenda the bill for reforming the Political Parties Law and the bill for supervision over Members of Parliament. They should do so to defend of the right to freedom of association and assembly, the right of representation, and to protect the legal immunity of Members of the Iranian Parliament in fulfilling their role as representatives.
The UN Human Rights Council has appointed a Special Rapporteur for Iran. There were 22 votes in favor, 7 against, and 14 abstentions. During discussions concerning the measure, Pakistan stated their opposition to country specific resolutions, stating that the Universal Periodic Review should be the mechanism that determined actions concerning specific countries. Cuba also criticised [...]
For the past few years, Iranian cyber activists have used Western sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Wordpress and other blogging tools with enthusiasm and intelligence. They have also created their own platforms such as Balatarin, which is reminiscent of Digg, and Gooya, which predates blogging and was born as a kind of political yellow pages, expanding into news gathering and political discussions.
Journalist Nazila Fathi, reminds us all of those heady days after the 2009 elections when millions took to the streets in Tehran and other cities in Iran to protest the announced results. From a Beep to a Whisper by Nazila Fathi It was on a Tuesday, 12 days after the election that the opposition planned [...]