31 Dec 2018
Can Ahwazi workers survive Iranian regime’s repression through international laws?
All international charters and conventions on human rights have guaranteed the right to demonstrate since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) issued by the United Nations in 1948, which are essential source of legislation.
According to Article 20 of UDHR, everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association”. Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stipulates that “The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized”. Yet Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states that “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity.”
Countries party to this convention shall pledge to respect freedom which is Indispensable for all mankind.
The European Charter on Human Rights, in Article 11, recognizes the right of any citizen, whether alone or in a group, to assemble and to hold peaceful demonstration. Also, the state must protect them. No restrictions should be placed on the exercise of this right. Local law must regulate the right to demonstrate in accordance with national security or public safety standards.
Arab Charter on Human Rights’ Article 19 provides for the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration of citizens and their right to exercise any peaceful political activity.
Despite the provisions of the charters that approved these rights, the world and human rights organizations are indifferent to the wave of protests by the Ahwazi workers, triggered by workers of the Sugarcane Company in the Ahwazi city of Susa, who demand improving their poor living and economic conditions, and receiving their wages delayed for months.
The wave of protests quickly spread to the workers of the Iron and Steel Company, the workers of the KAYSON Inc. for Ahwaz metro, and others. The protests didn’t stop there, as truck drivers joined by lining up the trucks on the main roads of the cities.
They faced the authorities of the Iranian regime which brought huge military reinforcements to the cities of Ahwaz turning it into military barracks, taking violent repressive measures and launching through its security services a wide campaign of arrests that prisons were overcrowded with detainees, prompting the occupation authorities to open new sections in the main prisons.
The crackdown targeted in particular the workers of the steel company in Ahwaz. The detainees list included 26 people on false charges and were taken to Shiban prison in Ahwaz.
The following are among the names of workers still in detention:
1- . Maitham Al Mahdi
2- Ahmed Bawi
3-. Issa Maree
5. Karim Seyahi
6. Gharib Huizawi
7. Mostafa Abayat
8. Tariq Khalafi (Halafi)
9. Majid Jalali
10. Kazem Haidari
11. Massoud Afri
12. Jaafar Subhani
13. Hafez Kanaani
14. Hamed Baseri
15. Sayed Majeed Mousawi
16. Sayed Ahmed Sayed Nouri
17. Hussein Daoudi
18. Mohamed Pourhasan
19. Maitham Ali Qanawati
20. Ihsan Yousufi
21. Mortaza Akbarian
22. Yasser Ibrahimian
23. Amir Dahqan
24. Mohsen Behbehani
25. Behzad Shahbazi
26. Behzad Alikhani
Following the harsh crackdown against Ahwaz workers, some international condemnations emerged against repressive measures, demanding the unconditional release of detainees. A number of European Parliament lawmakers issued a statement condemning the arrest of steel workers in Ahwaz.
List of the European Parliament lawmakers included Tunne Kelam members of the European Parliament from Estonia and Vice Chair of Friends of a Free Iran, Eduard Kukan members of the European Parliament and former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, Mark Demesemesmaeker members of the European Parliament from Belgium, Julie Wardجولي إنفر members of the European Parliament from the British Labor Party, Heinz K. Becker member of the European Parliament from Austria, Jozo Radoš members of the European Parliament and former Minister of Defense of the Republic of Croatia.
Despite the campaign of arbitrary detentions by the Iranian occupation forces, the workers continued their daily protests with chants including “We stand and die but don’t accept insult”, “Neither threat nor prison would frighten us”, and “Inflation, rising prices. Where are you (Iranian President Hassan) Rouhani?
The protesting workers haven’t forgotten their imprisoned colleagues and marched through Ahwazi cities demanding immediate and unconditional release. They also stressed the necessity of punishing the Iranian regime’s mafia, which has persecuted the workers for many years and didn’t respect any of their rights.
Also, the families of the detainees were present, where they have staged protests in front of the military governor’s building in Ahwaz, demanding that the regime authorities immediately release their children and all detained workers and activists.