For Immediate Release
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, 415-235-6517
Jean Stevens, national media coordinator, 508-769-2138
Women's Peace Group Creates Petition to Iranian President
Calls for safe reopening of Iranian human rights centers, commitment to human rights work
WASHINGTON - After
learning of the shutdown of two renowned Iranian human rights
organizations Sunday, CODEPINK Women for Peace have created a letter of
petition to Iranian President Ahmadinejad calling for him to allow
women's rights and human rights activists to continue their work in
Iran safely and freely. It also calls for the re-opening of the two
organizations, the Center for Participation in Clearing Mine Areas and
Defenders of Human Rights Center. (View the online petition here).
CODEPINK will deliver the petition to the U.S. Iranian ambassador in D.C. this
week. (Watch CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin describe the group's response to the shutdown Monday here on GRITtv with Laura Flanders.)
centers, founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, were shut
down with no explanation or written justification illegally just hours
before a 60th anniversary of Human Rights Day celebration there. In
August 2006, according to a CNN interview Monday, Ebadi said the
Iranian government informed her that the agency is "illegal" and vowed
to arrest those who continued to work there.
"Shirin Ebadi and her fellow activists inspire us all with their
courage and strength in the face of a kind of suppression that many of
us will never know, and we stand in solidarity with them and support
their work for human rights and a more democratic Iran," said Jodie
Evans, co-founder of CODEPINK. "This illegal raid on Shirin's offices
is only the most recent attempt by the Iranian government to suppress
or erase the face of human-rights activism in Iran."
Ebadi was briefly taken into police
custody following raids of the centers, which are highly respected in
Iran and worldwide for their role in improving human rights conditions.
The Center for Participation in Clearing Mine Areas helps victims of
landmines in Iran, and Defenders of Human Rights Center, reports human
rights violations in Iran, defends political prisoners, and supports
families of those prisoners. If Iran truly champions human rights, the
centers must be allowed to remain safely open.
CODEPINK believes, is the best way to support Ebadi without provoking a
reaction from the government that would endanger her or place her under
more intense scrutiny.
must be conscious of and realistic about how our actions in support of
her affect her safety, her ability to do her work, and her life," Evans
said. "But we cannot do so in any way that provokes a reaction from the
government which would endanger them more or place them under increased
For more information on the petition, please call Jodie Evans at 310-621-5635 or Medea Benjamin at 415-235-6517.
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CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects foreign policies based on domination and aggression, and instead calls for policies based on diplomacy, compassion and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.