Video messages from human rights and women’s rights activists around the world in honor of Nasrin Sotoudeh and Abdollah Momeni

Nasrin and Abdollah We Celebrate You

Friday 3 June 2011

Change for Equality: A Campaign in honor of the June birthdays of Nasrin Sotoudeh, imprisoned women’s rights defender and human rights lawyer and Abdollah Momeni, imprisoned teacher and student and human rights activist was launched in late May. Women’s rights activists, including several members of the Campaign visited with the families of these two imprisoned activists to celebrate their birthdays. Several international women’s rights defenders and peace activists also sent video messages of solidarity in honor of Nasrin and Abdollah who are serving 11 year and 9 year prison terms respectively in relation to their human rights work.

Those sending messages included three Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams and Mairead Maguire and women and human rights activists from Mexico, India, Mozambique, Palestine, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Canada, USA and Afghanistan.

In her message to Abdollah and Nasrin, Shirin Ebadi who knows both activists personally congratulated them on their birthdays and said that they are a source of pride for the Iranian people. Ebadi went on to claim that “Nasrin is the pride of honor of Iranian lawyers and Abollah is the honor of Iranian teachers. I hope that next year they will be with their families in a free Iran.”

In her message of solidarity to Nasrin and Abollah, Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, promised to work to free both of them. Mairied Maguire, also a recipient of the Nobel Peace prize, wished Nasrin and Abdollah a happy birthday and said that they are in her prayers and thoughts and hoped that both would be free soon.

Siham Abu Awwad a Palestinian peace activist emphasized in her message that she understood the pains of imprisonment due to the fact that her own mother served a 6 year prison sentence in an Israeli jail, and her brother served a 7 year prison sentence in an Israeli jail. “I wish you will celebrate [your birthdays] next year in your home with your own family,” said Siham.

Rose Mependonh a human rights and peace activist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, recalled her own struggles for human rights in her country and recounted her experiences of prison and death camp, while stressing that Nasrin and Abdollah were in prison for doing good. Rose asked that Nasrin and Abdollah never give up. She went on to explain that “I want to tell you a story about myself. I was arrested in my own country. My own government arrested me with my children [and we] spent 16 months in a death camp to be killed…. I want to tell you never, ever give up. Giving up is not an option. We still need you. One day you will be out and you will speak how I speak.”

Shinkai Zahine Karkhail, a Female Member of Afghanistan’s Parliament, sent her birthday video message to Nasrin and Abdollah in Farsi. In this message Shinkai said that as a Muslim woman and an Afghan who lives in a neighboring country, she is proud to see that exceptional individuals like Abdollah and Nasrin exist. She wished that others like Abdollah and Nasrin would be born in the future “so that they could work to make the world a safer place, so that each individual could benefit from human dignity and enjoy life as a human being with rights.”

Bina, from Manipur in Northeastern India is a peace activist who works to document the impact of militarism on the people of Manipur, her home province. “You may be in the cells of Iran at the moment, but the human spirit can never be put inside a jail. I know how must be wanting to see your families your children….I know that one day your children will be proud of your courage,” said Bina. Bina went on to say: “You have our love, our regards from this sister from India. know that we also have a sister in Manipur who is undergoing a ten year fast, in a hospital-jail. When we heard your stories it resonated. We will do all we can to join the Campaign to see you all to freedom.”

Charlotte Bunch, feminist scholar and activist also sent a message for Nasrin and Abdullah and expressed support and solidarity for their activism.

In her video message, Jensina Larson, founder of world Pulse Media, had the following to say: “we wanted you to know that we are thinking of you and standing in solidarity with you on your birthday and honoring you for the work that you have done and for the commitment that you have made to the people of your country. And we celebrate you.”

A number of other activists, from Canada, Mozabique and Mexico also sent their birthday wishes for Nasrin and Abdollah. Take a look at these videow on the facebook page dedicated to the birthdays of the two imprisoned human rights activists.

Take a look at the facebook page set up in honor of the birthdays of imprisoned human rights activists, Nasrin Sotoudeh and Abdollah Momeni and for future updates and to view other video messages become a member of the page.


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