Mr. Juan Somavia
Director-General International Labour Organisation
International Labour Office
4, route des Morillons
1211 Geneva 22
January 7, 2010
Dear Mr. Somavia,
1- In March 2009, an appeal was issued by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITCU), the International Union of Food Workers (IUF), and the Global Federation of Teacher Unions (EI). This appeal was addressed to you in your capacity as Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The signatories to that appeal urged ILO to take action against one of the world’s most violent anti-labour dictatorships, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
That appeal and all other requests initiated by Iranian or non-Iranian political or labour organizations have been so far either ignored, or the half hearted attempts by the ILO has not resulted in any positive action. We regret to inform you that those individuals mentioned in the above appeal are now either executed or still in Evin or other infamous prisons of the Islamic regime.
2- The immensely inhumane socioeconomic and political situation of workers in Iran, which has further deteriorated since the above appeal, is one of ILO’s fundamental organizational concerns. (“Declaration of Philadelphia” 1944)
Further, IRI as a member state has proven, throughout 30 years of brutal oppression against the labour movement, incapable of fulfilling the criteria of a representative partner. Yet IRI benefits from this membership by using it as a means of legitimizing its inhumane attitudes and practices.
3- The reasons to object to IRI’s legal right to membership in ILO, revocation of which has been demanded previously, is summarized in this short announcement made by members of the Workers-communist Party of Iran (WPI) while protesting IRI’s presence in the ILO’s annual conference in June of 2009:
A regime which arrests, jails and flogs workers should not be in the ILO; a regime which executes children and stones women to death belongs not in an organisation bearing the name of ‘labour’ but in international courts to answer for its crimes against humanity.
This demand has regrettably been ignored by ILO!
4- Whatever the official explanation for legitimizing this ignorance, the policy of prolonging IRI’s membership in the ILO has undermined all efforts to stop this regime’s inhumane and violent posture towards the Iranian working class and its independent union movement.
5- Islamic Republic’s prolonged membership in ILO constitutes formal recognition (and therefore acceptance) of an extremely inhumane regime which has had only one single policy towards worker’s movement and their basic demands: execution, prison, torture and rape. IRI has never denied this savagery; to the contrary, violence is its explicit policy.
6- We can not accept this ignorance. It is time that ILO’s leadership comprehend that all former illogical explanations for allowing IRI to continue participating the ILO, official or unofficial, have lost any presumed validity.
– While millions of Iranians are carrying out a revolution against this savage regime of dictatorship and gender apartheid;
– While 10s of 1000s of workers are struggling for physical survival against the extreme poverty enforced on them;
– While worker’s unpaid wages for the last 4, 5, 6 months or even longer, wages of hard labour, are being used to hold them hostages to this barbarism, used as means of submission;
– While workers union leaders are constant visitors of the infamous prisons;
– And finally as all attempts by workers to get what is legally theirs are being answered by paramilitary, and police suppression;
…the prolonged ignorance by ILO to this demand is not acceptable.
7- The next annual conference of ILO is only a few month away. The leadership of ILO has a short time to do the right thing. The only justifiable response towards IRI is expulsion of IRI from the ILO, an organization based on promotion of human rights, and justice, which represents the member states’ labourers and not the member states political objectives.
8- We demand immediate expulsion of IRI from the International Labour Organization. ILO has a legal responsibility as well as a moral obligation towards the Iranian labour movement.
We hold ILO’s leadership legally and morally accountable for their lack of action considering the best interest of masses of Iranian workers, for its failure to withdraw IRI’s membership in the ILO, and for legitimizing this anti-worker regime by allowing its representation in the International Labour Organization.
Once again, we urge you to act swiftly and responsibly in this matter by removing the IRI from the ILO.
With our best regards,
Mission Free Iran