Observatory Issues Statement Condemning Continued Detention of Ronak and Hana

Wednesday 23 January 2008

Change for Equality: The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, has issued a statement condemning the continued detention of Ronak Safarzadeh and Hana Abdi, two members of the Campaign in Kurdistan, Iran. The two women’s rights activists have been held in detention in Kurdistan since October 9 and November 4, 2007, respectively. The statement issued by the Observatory appears below:



*IRAN: Release on bail of two women’s rights defenders in spite of
ongoing repression against the members of the "One Million Signatures"

Paris-Geneva, January 8, 2008. The Observatory for the Protection of
Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International
Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against
Torture (OMCT), welcomes the release on bail of Ms. Maryam Hosseinkhah and Ms. Jelveh Javaheri[1], two women’s rights defenders active in the "One Million Signatures" petition campaign[2], but regrets that Ms. Hana Abdi and Ms. Ronak Safarzadeh, two other members of the Campaign, remain in detention in Sanandaj.

According to the information received, on January 2, 2008, Ms. Maryam
Hosseinkhah and Ms. Jelveh Javaheri were released on bail after their
bail amount was reduced from 95,000 euros and 50,000 euros respectively, to 4,000 euros each.

However, many women’s rights defenders remain prosecuted or detained because of their human rights activities. In this regard, the
Observatory was informed of the whereabouts of Ms. Hana Abdi[3]
on January 2, 2008. She is presently in arbitrary detention in Sanandaj, Iranian Kurdistan, together with Ms. Ronak Safarzadeh[4].

The Observatory points out that these events take place in a broader
context of increasing repression of the Iranian authorities against
human rights defenders, such as pro-reform students, women’s rights
activists and intellectuals. The Observatory wishes to recall that Iran
has committed to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and
protection of human rights" by presenting its candidacy to the Human
Rights Council 2006 election and had insisted in this regard on the fact
that the country had "continuously put great efforts into safeguarding
the status and inherent dignity of the human person as well as the
promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms". In order to ensure the continuation of these efforts, the Observatory urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to conform in all circumstances with these pledges and with international human rights standards.

* ***

Accordingly, the Observatory urges the Iranian authorities to put an
end to any act of harassment against all human rights defenders in the
country, as well as to conform with Article 1 of the UN Declaration on
Human Rights Defenders, which states that "everyone has the right,
individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive
for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental
freedoms at the national and international levels", as well as Article
12.2 , which states that "the State shall take all necessary measures to
ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone,
individually or in association with others, against any violence,
threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination,
pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her
legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present

*For further information, please contact:***

*FIDH : Gael Grilhot, + 00 33 1 43 55 25 18***

*OMCT : Delphine Reculeau, + 00 41 22 809 49 39*

[1] The two women had been arrested on November 17, 2007 and December 1, 2007 respectively (See Observatory Urgent Appeals IRN 011 / 1107 / OBS 144 and IRN 014 / 1207 / OBS 157, issued on November 20 and December 5, 2007).

[2] The "One Million Signatures" campaign seeks to put pressure on the Iranian legislators in order to withdraw provisions that have adverse effects on women’s human rights.

[3] See Observatory Urgent Appeal IRN 013 / 1107 / OBS 154, issued on November 30, 2007.

[4] See Observatory Urgent Appeal IRN 009 / 1007 / OBS 130, issued on October 12, 2007.


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