NEU condemns human rights abuses in Iran

As nationwide protests move into a second month in Iran, the NEU continues to stand in solidarity with Iranian teacher unions and all those moving to defend human rights across the country.


The NEU strongly condemns the grave violations of human rights that have taken place in the lead up to and since the killing of Jina Mahsa Amini, a 22 year-old woman. Ms. Amini was killed on 16 September after being arrested by the morality police for allegedly wearing her headscarf incorrectly – she is yet another victim of the Iranian Government’s sustained repression and systematic discrimination against women and girls.

Protests have since captured the imagination of the country on an unprecedented scale – women have been videoed burning their headscarves and cutting their hair; schoolgirls have been demonstrating in playgrounds and on the streets.

The Iranian security forces have responded with a deadly crackdown: over 250 people have been killed, including up to 50 children.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Javaid Rehman, has condemned the chronic impunity for flagrant human rights abuses and has called for the urgent establishment of an independent investigative mechanism into all human rights violations.

Following calls to action from civil society organisation and sister unions in Iran, the NEU joint general secretaries have written to the UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, calling on him to use diplomatic channels to urge the Government of Iran – including via the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council – to respect the right to peaceful assembly, release unfairly detained protestors, and to guarantee human rights for all, including women and girls. In addition, the NEU has written to the Cooperative Council of Iranian Teachers Trade Associations (CCITTA) to express steadfast solidarity.

NEU members and Districts can support the campaign for human rights in Iran by affiliating to CoDIR – a human rights campaign group established by Iranian human rights defenders with the British trade union movement.

NEU joint general secretaries, Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney have sent a letter to the UK Foreign Secretary.

Read the letter in full:

Rt. Hon. James Cleverly MP

Secretary of State Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office King Charles Street,


London SW1A 2AH

By email: [email protected]

13 December 2022

Dear Foreign Secretary,

The Human Rights Crisis in Iran

We are writing to urge the UK government to step up its opposition to the human rights crackdown in Iran and to do all it can to pressure the Iranian authorities to halt further executions of human rights defenders.

The public executions of Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard, both of whom were just 23-years of age, following trials in which the defendants were denied due process are a stain on humanity. Dozens more protesters, many of whom are young people in their twenties, have also received death sentences in recent weeks, merely for exercising their rights to peaceful protest following the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini. There is a clear and pressing danger that further executions could follow in the coming weeks unless the international community takes immediate and decisive action.

In the week following international Human Rights Day, the UK has a duty to play a leading role in international efforts to halt any further executions and make clear to the Iranian authorities that the UK will not remain silent in the face of its gross human rights abuses.

We look forward to hearing from you about the further action the UK intends to take. Yours sincerely,

Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary

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