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Access to the website www.we-change.org blocked by the authorities / World Organisation Against Torture

Friday 23 February 2007


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), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Iran.

Brief description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources that the website www.we-change.org was recently blocked by the authorities.

According to the information received, this website is a campaign on-line that was launched by Iranian feminist groups on August 27, 2006, asking for the elimination of all forms of legal discrimination against women in Iranian law, and asking legislators to review and reform existing laws, so that they conform with the government’s commitments to international human rights conventions. Even if it remains accessible from abroad, the authorities blocked its access in Iran in January 2007.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern about these events, along with the recurrent obstacles put on freedom of expression in Iran. Indeed, several dozens of international and national websites of NGOs and newspapers, calling for democratic reforms and the respect of fundamental freedoms, or denouncing human rights violations, have been blocked over the past few years.

The Observatory considers that these facts contravene international human rights standards, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by Iran, and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, which article 6b states that “everyone is free (…) to publish, impart or disseminate to other views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

Action requested:
Please write to the Iranian authorities, urging them to:

Review the decision to block the website www.we-change.org, and ensure the full exercise of freedom of expression in the country;
Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in Iran, and put an end to all forms of harassment against them;
Conform with the above Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular its article 1 which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, above-mentioned article 6(b) and article 12.2, which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and 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 Declaration”;
More generally, ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Iran in accordance with international human rights standards.
Addresses:
Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98.21.649.5880 / 21.774.2228, Email: webmaster@wilayah.org
President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.649.5880, E-mail: khatami@president.ir
Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Mr. Jamal Karimi-Rad, Ministry of Justice Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98.21.879.6671, Email: Irjpr@iranjudiciary.com
Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Manuchehr Motaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.390.1999, Email: matbuat@mfa.gov
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: mission.iran@ties.itu.int
Ambassador Mr. Ahani, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, 415 avenue de Tervueren, 1150 Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: iran-embassy@yahoo.com
Please also write to diplomatic representations of the Islamic Republic of Iran in your respective countries.

***

Geneva - Paris, January 17, 2007

Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken quoting the code number of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax: FIDH : +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax: OMCT : + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
E-mail : Appeals@fidh-omct.org

See the announcement in site of OMCT

 

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