Sunday, February 14, 2010

Three Labour Organizations Send Letter to U.N.

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Street Journalist /

Three independent labour organizations sent a letter to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. They asked that the council review the demands of these organizations for a humane and dignified life, far from all forms of suppression, intimidation, and fear. The council is scheduled to review the human rights situation in Iran in a conference to take place in Geneva from February 15-17, 2010. The Bus Workers Syndicate of Tehran and Humeh (in the province of Lorestan), the Workers Syndicate of Neyshekar Hafttapeh and the Free Union of Iranian Workers protested the harsh pressures inflicted on them by the Islamic Republic in recent years. These three independent worker organizations wrote the following in reference to the arrest of activists and workers: “The Islamic Republic’s security officials have announced their adherence to international protocols. Despite this fact, they have banned unions from forming in the country. Anyone active in a union will be labeled an enemy of the Islamic Republic and prosecuted.” The three unions added that conditions for workers in the country have deteriorated in the last three decades since the 1979 revolution. Each day conditions are worsened and levels of poverty and the denial of their rights increases. The letter stated that minimum wage is four times less than the poverty line and added, “Millions of families are desperately trying to survive in the most inhumane conditions because their wages are not being paid on time.”

They also stated, “A massive wave of unemployment and the danger of laying off of workers has made life unimaginably hellish for their families. The only way out of these inhumane conditions requires a fundamental restructuring in the economy and society.” The organizations claimed that the desperate conditions of workers is occurring even as “over the last thirty years, the working class in Iran has been denied all of its internationally guaranteed rights. Any form of organization, striking or protest has been met with clampdowns, threats (from employers and security officials), termination (from the workplace), and imprisonment.” In recent years, along with the worsening of economic conditions, many strikers and labour protesters in various parts of Iran have realized that they will be confronted by the justice and security apparatuses of the Islamic Republic. During these encounters, worker activists have been accused of acting against national security, a charge that the independent labour organizations vehemently deny. Many worker activists are currently imprisoned, including: Mansour Osanloo (the president of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company), Ebrahim Madadi (senior representative of the bus union), Ali Nejati (head of Neyshekar Haftapeh), and Alireza Saqafi (activist). The groups issued their requests in anticipation of the Human Rights Commission’s seventh annual conference. Among the requests was the overturning of the death penalty and the immediate and unconditional release of all labour activists as well as those from other movements. Also, they have requested the overturning of charges against the activists.


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