From Human Rights Watch
(Beirut) – Iranian authorities have increased targeting of teachers and labor activists in recent weeks for organizing and conducting peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today.
On November 13, 2018, the Council for Coordination among Teachers Unions organized a walkout involving dozens of teachers across Iran to protest their insufficient salaries due to high inflation and poor living conditions. It was the second teacher-organized walkout since September 21, when Iran’s public school year began.
“Iranian authorities are punishing teachers and labor activists for exercising their collective bargaining rights and conducting peaceful protests that are essential freedoms for all workers,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities’ recent talk of ‘national unity and resistance against foreign pressure’ are empty words when they throw educators and labor activists in jail for demanding a fair wage.”
The Telegram channel of the Council for Coordination among Teachers Unions reported that the authorities have arrested at least 12 teachers since November 11 and reportedly summoned and interrogated 30 more. The authorities arrested Hashem Khastar, a prominent Teachers Union member in Mashhad, on November 1, after the first walkout, and held him in a psychiatric hospital until November 19, then released him. Three other prominent members of the teacher’s union are also currently behind bars in Iran.
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