On Thursday June 2, Mansour Ossanlu’s wife stated that he had been granted a four-day medical leave for medical treatment. Amnesty International is unaware of the exact conditions of his release, but some reports suggest that he has been released on bail.
Mansour Ossanlu’s release is only temporary and while it’s welcome that the Iranian authorities have finally recognized his urgent need for rest and medical treatment – itself largely due to the appalling prison conditions in which he has been held – the basic injustice of his detention remains.
Mansour is the leader of the Union of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for “acts against national security”. The charges stem from his peaceful work to obtain better conditions for workers in Iran and to end discriminatory laws and practices that curtail workers’ rights.
Mansour Ossanlu – and all others still held in Iran for their peaceful trade union activities – should be released permanently and unconditionally.
Last night I attended the debut of the US Human Rights Network’s Testify! Project, a collection of videos and written testimonies exploring stories of injustice from throughout the United States. The top 10 videos and stories are being screened for United Nations delegates in Geneva, Switzerland, in preparation for the United States’ Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”) which takes place tomorrow. The UPR is a process through which the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States are reviewed once every four years.
A huge shout-out to Amnesty’s very own Local Group 463 in Las Vegas, NM, whose video submission was one of the ten films selected to be shown here in Geneva, at the UN! The two-minute video, which focuses on the efforts of local hospital workers to form a union, can be viewed at www.testifyproject.com or http://ushrnetwork.org/testify/?p=431. In addition to Local Group 463’s union rights video, the video subjects spanned the spectrum of human rights from police brutality to treatment of migrants to the human right to health care.
The evening was a powerful reminder of the need for human rights implementation in the United States. Amnesty International has submitted recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council outlining how the US can and must do just that – and I have come to Geneva to help raise awareness of these issues and ensure that concrete actions are taken.
But we need your help! Included in those recommendations is a call for President Obama to issue an Executive Order that would create an interagency working group on human rights. This working group should be comprised of representatives from every federal agency, from the Department of Homeland Security to the Department of Justice, to help create a domestic human rights infrastructure and bring human rights home. To support our work in Geneva and help AIUSA push for this infrastructure, ask President Obama to issue an Executive Order on human rights now!
Action for Human Rights. Hope for Humanity.