What Can I Do to Support the Protesters and Human Rights in Iran?
Since anti-state protests broke out across Iran in September 2022, following the killing in state custody of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini, hundreds of peaceful protesters have been killed by state security forces and thousands arrested.
Two young men have also been executed, and at least 15 have been sentenced to death while at least 43 are facing charges that could carry the death penalty. All of the detainees’ cases are being handled by the Islamic Revolutionary Court system, which conduct closed, rapid fire trials without a semblance of due process.
Coordinated and sustained citizen action has been effective in curtailing state abuses in many instances around the world. If citizens worldwide speak out, the government of Iran will know the world is watching and condemning its actions.
Here are steps you can take to help:
Contact your elected representative, urging them to demand a moratorium on executions and to address the Iranian government’s violent repression of protesters
You can search online (enter “who is my representative?”) to find your local elected officials, and then search their name to find their email address, phone number, and postal address so that you can either email, call, or write.
You can say/write, for example, “As your constituent, I urge you to publicly condemn the Iranian government’s violence against protesters, including executions, and call upon you and your colleagues in government to vigorously support the right to dissent in Iran.”
If your government maintains diplomatic relations with Iran (the U.S. government does not), you can add: “I call on our government to withdraw our ambassador from Tehran and summon Iranian diplomats to demand a moratorium on executions and to halt lethal violence against protesters.”
Sign a petition, and if one does not exist, start one
You can look up existing petitions online (for example, search “human rights petitions on Iran”) and add your signature.
Share the petition with others in your network to collect more signatures.
If a petition does not exist, look here for tips on how to start a petition: https://www.change.org
Petitions can prompt government action. For example, in the United Kingdom, any public petition submitted to the government with at least 10,000 signatories must be responded to by the government. If a petition gets 100,000 signatures then it will be considered for debate in Parliament. (See https://petition.parliament.uk/)
Petitions can also be submitted to Canada’s Parliament. (See https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Home/Index).
Write to newspapers highlighting the Iranian government’s violent abuses
Write letters to your local and/or national newspapers calling attention to the violent repression underway in Iran and urging both citizen and governmental action.
Use social media to spread awareness of the human rights crisis in Iran
Highlight cases of violence against protesters and abuses against prisoners on social media. You can find cases here: www.iranhumanrights.org and use widely used hashtags, including #Mahsa_Amini, #IranRevolution, and #StopExecutionsInIran
Organize an event
You can organize an event in your community, at your university, or at your organization, drawing attention to the human rights crisis in Iran.
At the event, you can:
- Share information about the violent repression of protesters in Iran
- Circulate petitions or sample letters to elected officials (you can have a designated “letter-writing gathering”)
- Contact your local newspaper to ask if they would like to cover the event
Report rights violations
If you have firsthand information about a specific human rights violation in Iran through friends, family or colleagues, send this information (with as much detail as possible) to:
- The UN. See these instructions at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): https://www.ohchr.org/en/reporting_violations, or report a violation directly to: the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council (independent human rights experts), the human rights Treaty Bodies (committees of independent experts), or the Human Rights Council
- Human rights organizations
- Your elected representatives
- Your local and/or national newspapers
Write op-eds and commentary
Individuals, especially those with high public profiles or who are in influential or leadership positions, can write op-eds for newspapers and other publications, drawing attention to the violent repression underway in Iran and asking for concerted international action to support the protesters.
The members of editorial boards of newspapers can also write statements expressing outrage over the Iranian government’s violence against protesters, and calling for vigorous and coordinated international action to support the right to dissent in Iran.
Attend a protest
Attend a protest or demonstration against the Islamic Republic’s ongoing violent repression of protests and share information regarding the gathering with as many people in your personal network as possible, both before and after the event.
Donate to a non-profit organization working to support human rights in Iran
You can also encourage your employer to donate, and/or to set up a matching donation program.
Leaders at companies can also advance the cause of human rights
Principals at companies can also draw on their respective areas of expertise, for example in media, advertising, design, public relations, technology, and many other areas, to provide services free of charge that help expand public awareness of the violent repression underway in Iran and build support for the protesters.
NGOs leaders can lend their voices to support the protesters in Iran
Leaders at NGOs, especially those concerned with freedom of expression, women’s rights, labor rights, judicial rights, the death penalty and prisoners’ rights, children’s rights, minority rights, internet freedom and other human rights issues, can issue public statements condemning the Iranian government’s actions and supporting the right to peaceful protest in Iran.
Members of professional associations can speak out against the state’s violence
Members of professional associations—including writers, publishers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, academics, scientists, filmmakers, and many others—can galvanize support at their organizations for the protesters and their right to freedom of expression and issue public statements.
Members of labor unions can publicly proclaim support for the protesters in Iran
Leaders and members of labor and trade organizations can issue statements publicly voicing support for the protesters and their rights to freedom of assembly and association and the right to peaceful dissent.
International organizations should consider expelling the Islamic Republic
Leaders of international organizations whose fundamental principles, goals and mission are violated by the Islamic Republic’s violent repression of peaceful dissent and its systemic discrimination against women, should consider initiating procedures to expel the Islamic Republic from membership in the organization.
For steps government leaders wordwide can take, click here.
And here’s a guide for members of the U.S. Congress
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