Ei-iE

Statement: Teachers and trade unionists in Iran must be immediately and unconditionally released!

published 13 May 2022 updated 13 May 2022

Education International, the global federation of educators, condemns the arrest of Iranian teacher trade unionists and demands their immediate and unconditional release.

The targeted repression against teachers advocating for their students, their communities and their rights as unionists must end.

We denounce the unjustifiable arrests in various cities of dozens of teachers on May Day, a date meant to celebrate workers around the world. We also demand an end to the detention and harassment of those who are peacefully advocating for the release of their colleagues.

Authorities are desperate to stop the peaceful trade union demonstrations over teachers’ poor wages, the inadequate education budget and imprisonment of teacher trade unionists.

Those arrests and detentions are violations of freedom of association, the right to organise, and freedom of speech.

We demand the release, and the full respect of the human rights of Eskander Lotfi (Teachers’ Trade Association of Mariwan, and spokesperson for the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association);

Rasoul Bodaghi (Teachers’ trade Association of Islamshahr, and a representative at the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association);

Mohammad Habibi (Spokesperson for the Teachers’ trade Association of Tehran);

Jafar Ebrahimi (Teachers’ Trade Association of Tehran, Inspector of the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association);

Ali Akbar Baghani (Board member of Teachers’ Trade Association of Tehran);

Mohsen Omrani (Teachers’ Trade Association of Bushehr);

Mahmoud Malaki (Teachers’ Trade Association of Bushehr);

Reza Amanifar (Teachers’ Trade Association of Bushehr);

Asghar Hajeb (Teachers’ Trade Association of Bushehr);

Hadi Sadeghzadeh (Teachers’ Trade Association of Mashhad);

Shaban Mohammadi, (Teachers’ Trade Association of Mariwan) arrested on May 11, 2022;

Masoud Nikkhah (Teachers’ Trade Association of Mariwan)

We also reiterate the call of education unionists worldwide for the release of Esmail Abdi, former leader of the Tehran Teacher Association, who started a hunger strike on May Day. He has been condemned until 2031 on trumped up charges. The long imprisonment and ill treatment in the prison have severely affected his health. Esmail’s family (wife and two daughters and son) are harassed and victimised by the security forces and at a serious risk.

Education International calls on the Iranian Government to:

  • Unconditionally drop all charges against imprisoned trade unionists and human rights defenders in Iran.
  • Respect and uphold the rights of teachers and education workers to organise and to freedom of association and freedom of speech including the right to peaceful assembly, without fear of intervention by the authorities.
  • Institutionalise dialogue with representative organisations of teachers and education personnel on issues related to the education policy and teachers.
  • Respect the rights and privacy of the family members of the imprisoned leaders and ensure their safety and wellbeing.

Resolution by Education International’s Executive Board

During a meeting of Education International’s Executive Board on December 2nd, the international body adopted a resolution demanding respect for the "rights of teachers and education workers to organise and to freedom of association and freedom of speech including the right to peaceful assembly, without fear of intervention by the authorities."