As Nobel Peace laureates, we are deeply concerned by the recent brutal crackdown against protests in Iran, resulting in thousands of arrests and over 100 deaths in Iran. We condemn the curtailment of freedom of expression and the repression of protests through arbitrary arrest and killings. We call on the government of Iran to recognize the right to peaceful demonstrations in accordance with both the Iranian constitution and international human rights law.
The true number of casualties is not known as the internet was blocked for several days by Iran’s National Security Council; internet with slow connection has since been restored to some parts of the country.
Iranians took to the streets November 16 to protest a 50 percent increase to the price of petrol. President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement of increase of petrol’s price comes as Iran is already experiencing high inflation and unemployment. The Iranian economy is suffering. US sanctions are having an impact on Iran’s ability to export oil and government corruption and Iranian “proxy” conflicts in the region (Yemen, Syria, Lebanon) are diverting money needed to help Iran’s growing poor.
Unfortunately, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has publically backed the Rouhani government and its response to the protest. By referring to the protestors as “insurgents”, “hooligans” and “counter-revolutionaries”, Khamenei has paved the way for further repression by security forces and the police.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is attempting to silence citizen voices through arrests, killings and censorship. Iran has a long history of using force and arrests to silence dissent, with women human rights defenders being particularly targeted.
We are calling on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Committee of the European Union, international human rights institutions and all countries with political and economic links with Iran to:
- Express solidarity with the Iranian people.
- Condemn the violence committed by the Iranian government against its citizens.
- Call for an end to censorship and any limitation on access to information.
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) – Iran
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) – Liberia
Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) – Yemen
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) – USA