IRI Out of the ILO!
In the days leading up to the 99th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC), which runs from June 2-18 2010, Mission Free Iran will draw attention to the situation of working men, women and children in Iran, and ask our readers to write to the International Labor Organization (ILO) to demand that the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) not be seated at this year’s meeting.
Is there anyone inside the ILO or outside who is not aware of the fact that the IRI, in its entire anti-worker history, has only had one single relation with the Iranian working class: jail, torture, execution, kidnappings, threats to families and suppression of the right to form independent trade unions? In 2006 it was noted that the Iranian government “routinely arrests and prosecutes workers demanding their most basic rights, such as demands for wages unpaid, sometimes for periods as long as 36 months.” (1) Security forces attack workers’ peaceful gatherings, harass their families, and even open fire at mass protests, killing them (Khatoon Abad, Babak Shahr and others). Assassination of labor activists is another common measure used by the Islamic regime since its inception to push workers back.
The regime’s assault on labor activists has increased in the wake of the June 2009 elections. In November 2009, several Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company Trade Union activists were sentenced to immediate imprisonment and a 5-year bar from union activity. (2) Mansour Ossanlou (leader of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company), whose health is precarious due to beatings and torture by the regime, has been subjected to solitary confinement and physical attack by general population prisoners. On April 25th he was taken in handcuffs and shackles before the 6th investigative branch of the Karaj Revolutionary Court to have a new case was opened against him for “having ties to the enemies of the state inside the prison.” (3) Three members of teachers unions have been illegally arrested and continue to be detained (4), and most recently, beloved teacher trade unionist Farzad Kamangar was executed by the Islamic regime on May 9 2010. (5)
The arrest, detention and torture of Iranian labor activists is happening in a context of a general failure to pay a living wage to Iranian workers, widespread refusal to pay any wages to workers at all (for example metal workers (6)), and massive lay-offs of workers (7).
We stand in solidarity with workers in Iran, who even in the face of violent repression continue to stand up and demand their rights. (8) (9)
The ILO is a United Nations organization. The Charter of the United Nations makes provision for the expulsion of governments that violate the charter: “A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.” The Islamic regime has repeatedly and unabashedly violated virtually every principle in the UN Charter. It is time for the UN and its organizations, specifically the ILO, to take appropriate action by refusing to further legitimize this regime.
WE DEMAND THAT THE ILO, IN THE NAME OF ITS RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS THE MEMBER STATES’ WORKERS, THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING CLASS,
1) RECOGNIZES THE MINIMUM DEMANDS OF WORKERS DECLARED ON MAY 1ST AS THE BASIS OF ITS RELATION TO THE LEGITIMACY OF IRI IN THE ILO,
2) REVOKES THIS ANTI-LABOR REGIME’S MEMBERSHIP, AND
3) OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING CLASS AS WELL AS INTERNATIONAL UNIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS, STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE IRANIAN WORKERS AND PEOPLE AND THEIR DEMANDS
Call, fax, or write to the ILO to demand that the Islamic regime be expelled from ILO membership, and be refused a seat at the 99th Session of the International Labor Congress.
Phone: +41 (0) 22 799 6111
Fax: +41 (0) 22 798 8685
(1) Workers’ Rights. | International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
(2) Independent Sugar Union Leaders in Iran Now Behind Bars – Act Now! | IUF.
(3) Mansour Osanloo Faces New Charges | Persian2English
(4) Iran: Urgent Action Appeal: Execution of Iranian Teacher’s Unionist Farzad Kamangar | Education International
(5) Iran: Farzad Kamangar Executed | LabourStart
(6) Strike and protest by Metal Workers #1 | Free Union of Workers
(7) Ahmadinejad’s speech marred by shouts from the crowd | Denver Post
(8) Workers’ Minimum Demands on the Occasion of the 31st Anniversary of the 1979 Revolution | Translated by Mission Free Iran
(9) Joint International Workers Day Declaration (Iranian Workers Organizations)