For Immediate Release

Call for the Immediate Reopening of Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi’s Offices in Tehran

GENEVA - The Nobel Peace Laureate International Campaign to Ban Landmines
(ICBL) expressed serious concern today about the raid on and forced
closure by Iranian authorities of two Tehran-based non-governmental
organizations run by Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi. The Center for Participation in Clearing Mined Areas helps mine victims in Iran, and the Defenders of Human Rights Center
reports on human rights violations in Iran, defends political prisoners
and supports their families. The ICBL asks for a reopening of the two
offices as soon as possible and for the protection of the activists who
selflessly dedicate themselves to assisting the most vulnerable. 

On 21 December 2008, uniformed and plainclothed agents raided the
offices, filmed the premises, made an inventory, and forced the members
to leave before indefinitely shutting down the offices, reported Narges
Mohammadi, the Defenders of Human Rights Center's
spokesperson, cited today in a Human Rights Watch press release. Dr.
Ebadi was briefly taken into custody. No explanations were given for
the raid, which was conducted without warrant.

"Mine clearance and assistance to mine victims are essential to
building safer communities. Attacks on and forced disruptions of the
life-saving work of victim assistance organizations is highly
disturbing," said Sylvie Brigot, Executive Director of the ICBL. "The
work carried out by Dr. Ebadi's organizations benefits the Iranian
population and should be safeguarded. We call on the Iranian
authorities to ensure these organizations are able to freely conduct
their humanitarian work," she added.

Landmines and explosive remnants of war are a deadly threat in Iran,
affecting particularly the provinces of Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan,
Khuzestan, Kermanshah and Ilam in the west and southwest of the
country. According to the ICBL's Landmine Monitor Report 2008, there are no credible estimates of the area of contamination. Iran has not acceded to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.



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