The first charter on human rights was authored by Cyrus the Great over 2500 years ago. As Iranians we are heirs to a proud tradition of human rights and tolerance. Sadly, the Iranian authorities have not lived up to this legacy, as can be seen by the mock trials, false imprisonments, torture, child executions, and lack of equality for women in Iran today.
For the past 30 years the Iranian government has barred Amnesty International from entering the country, affording us no transparency in regards to its human rights record. However, advances in technology and the internet are allowing brave Iranian activists to share direct eyewitness accounts of what is happening on ground zero in the post-election crackdown: brutal attacks on and murder of peaceful protestors, wrongful imprisonment without access to an attorney or fair trial, forced confessions obtained under torture and duress, rape used as a weapon of torture in prisons, and the lack of freedom of assembly as seen in the case of the ‘Mourning Mothers’ whose only “crime” was gathering for an hour each Saturday in a peaceful vigil near the place and time of the killing of protester Neda Agha-Soltan.
Despite the dangers posed to protesters, Iranians continue to take to the streets in hundreds of thousands to demand their universally recognized rights. The movement has grown beyond simply contesting the results of the presidential election. It has morphed into a Civil Rights movement of the magnitude seen in the United States in the 50’s and 60’s, uniting Iranians across a broad spectrum of political ideologies, bridging our differences for the first time in 30 years, with a single goal in mind: Freedom.
Today, I stand in solidarity with the people of Iran in demanding a fair and democratic society where the 30 articles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights are fully realized. Together we can ensure that their pleas for freedom are not going unheard by the international community, that their struggle is not in vain, and that they will prevail.
– Nazanin Boniadi