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This news story is available here in Farsi.

 “Say her name: Mahsa Amini!”

 “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi! Women, Life, Freedom!”

These chants have been raised in public squares around the world, as untold thousands of people have rallied to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman from Iran’s Kurdistan province. Arrested by the country’s morality police in Tehran on September 13, 2022, for allegedly not properly adhering to Iran’s strict religious dress code for women, Amini died three days later in police custody.

Her death sparked demonstrations that pose the biggest challenge to Iran’s leadership in years, as the protest actions spread internationally, including to Canada. Like other unions and civil society organizations around the world, the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) stands in solidarity with the people of Iran in their struggle against the oppressive regime currently in power.

“We are inspired by the courage of all the Iranian people—particularly the women and girls—who are putting their lives on the line to demand an end to the widespread repression,” said BCTF President Clint Johnston. “We stand with them in their struggle.”

Johnston added that the BCTF has written to the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, urging that the Iranian regime be expelled from the organization, which is mandated to uphold internationally recognized human and labour rights. The BCTF urged Iran’s expulsion due to imprisonment and repression of teacher trade unionists and other activists, as well as violations of international protocols on freedom of association, collective agreements, and child labour. 

In an effort to weaken the protests, Iran moved swiftly to restrict internet access in Tehran and Kurdistan, but footage of defiant female protesters cutting their hair and burning their hijabs in the streets only inspired similar actions abroad. The authorities responded with a vicious crackdown.

In a statement published November 22, 2022, Amnesty International said it has recorded the names and details of 305 people, including at least 41 children, killed by security forces since the demonstrations broke out in mid-September. Investigations into the identities of those killed continue, with the true death toll believed to be far higher.

“Over two months into the popular uprising, systematic impunity has emboldened the Iranian authorities not only to continue unlawfully deploying lethal force, but also to resort to the death penalty as a tool of intimidation and political repression,” the statement said.

Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard is calling on the 47 UN Human Rights Council member states to urgently establish an investigative accountability mechanism to address the alarming spike in unlawful killings and other human rights violations.

She said that the pattern of killing hundreds of protesters under cover of darkness is reminiscent of the Iranian authorities’ crackdown on the November 2019 protests, demonstrating how the failure of the international community to respond adequately enabled the ongoing bloodshed.  


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