Human rights supporters in dozens of cities around the world plan to rally Saturday to show solidarity with Iranians seeking democracy and civil rights, one of the organizing groups said.
United4Iran said it expects protests at Iranian embassies and other sites to condemn the Iranian government’s violent response to citizens who claim the June 12 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was fraudulent. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets after the election, and many were met with brutality from security forces that resulted in death or serious injuries. Some protesters were arrested and put in jail, where they remain despite pleas by families and friends. “These acts are a direct assault on the Iranian people’s human and civil rights — and those of everyone who supports these ideals around the world,” United4Iran said on its Web site. The organization describes itself as a nonpartisan collaborative of individuals and human rights organizations with no political agenda. Send your iReports from Saturday’s rallies “Our only aim is to condemn the widespread and systematic violations of the Iranian people’s human rights and to call for full restoration of their human and civil rights,” the group says. United4Iran says other sponsors of the Saturday rallies include the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner and native Iranian Shirin Ebadi, Amnesty International, and Reporters without Borders.
Iran election fallout
The U.S. State Department’s latest report on human rights practices in Iran, published in 2006, said, “the government’s poor human rights record” had “worsened.” Among the problems listed in that report are “severe restriction of the right of citizens to change their government peacefully; unjust executions after reportedly unfair trials; disappearances; torture and severe officially sanctioned punishments such as death by stoning; flogging; excessive use of force against demonstrators,” and violence and legal discrimination against women, minorities, and homosexuals. The State Department report also cited “incitement to anti-Semitism.” Many Arab organizations, including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and Committees for the Defense of Democracy Freedom and Human Rights in Syria, have banded together to support Iranians, according to United4Iran. “We, the undersigned human rights organizations and advocates from the Arab region, express our utter condemnation of all forms of brutal repression undertaken by the Iranian authorities against large masses of the Iranian people involved in peaceful demonstrations and protests against the course and outcome of the Iranian presidential elections,” the groups say on the United4Iran Web site. United4Iran said it wants U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon to send a delegation to Iran to investigate the fate of political prisoners; the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including journalists; an end to state-sponsored violence; freedom of the press and Iran’s adherence to international agreements it has signed.