Iranian Landmine Campaigner Faces Govt Persecution

Shahram Sharif, courtesy Wikipedia.

Human Rights Watch reports that the Iranian government has escalated its campaign of persecution against Nobel Peace Laureate, Shirin Ebadi, who runs the Iranian local NGOs, the Center for Participation in Clearing Mined Areas and the Defenders of Human Rights Center. Ebadi had contributed particularly to assisting survivors of mine accidents in Iran. 

On New Year’s Day 150 people demonstrated outside her house, spraying it with graffiti and tearing down the sign of her law office.  Earlier in December, Iranian security officials raided and forcibly closed the offices of her two NGOs and briefly imprisoned her, without a warrant.

“Mine clearance and assistance to mine victims are essential to building safer communities. Attacks on and forced disruptions of the life-saving work of victim assistance organizations is highly disturbing,”  said Sylvie Brigot, Executive Director of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

These humiliations come on the heals of a smear campaign against her by news organizations close to the regime. According to the New York Times, this is part of a broader campaign to crack down on reformists and activists ahead of the presidential elections in June.

“The work carried out by Dr. Ebadi’s organizations benefits the Iranian population and should be safeguarded,” said Brigot. “We call on the Iranian authorities to ensure these organizations are able to freely conduct their humanitarian work.”  To read the complete statement from the ICBL, click here.

Iran is a non-signator of the antipersonnel landmine ban, despite having a considerable contamination problem, largely as a result of the Iran-Iraq War.  To learn more about Iran’s mine problem, click here.

~ by Matthew Bolton on 5 January 2009.

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