The Open Letter to the International Labour Organization ILO

From: Free Them Now -Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran
To: Mr Guy Ryder, Director-General of ILO

Dear Mr. Guy Ryder!

I write this letter to protest your policy towards the Islamic regime of Iran. Al the world knows how this regime treats the workers. A regime that flogs, tortures, imprisons workers who demand the most basic rights should have no place in ILO.

We, ‘Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran’, together with many other workers organisations and unions hold you responsible for giving legitimacy to Islamic Republic of Iran and its inhumane and anti-workers actions by allowing its membership in International Labour Organisation.

In the past four decades the Islamic Republic of Iran has been exemplary in violation of the most basic workers’ and human rights. In several occasions, after exposure of its undeniable violation of workers’ rights and brutal oppression of dissents you suggested some changes which not only the Islamic regime ignored but it stepped up the oppressions.

Many of ILO members have already written to you about oppression of sugar cane workers of Haft Tapeh and steelworkers of National Steel Group of Ahvaz in Khuzestan province, the arrests and threats of execution of striking truckers and truck drivers, arrest and imprisonment of teachers, flogging workers’ activists, long term prison sentences against teachers, workers’ leaders and activists,  militarising workers’ assemblies and strikes, fabricating security cases against workers’ representatives and presence of agents of security services of Islamic regime in workplaces, and murder of unemployed workers who have been forced to become Kulbar (back bearers) in borders of Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

In case you are not aware of the systematic inhumane treatment of the workers, unemployed workers, and the people of Iran under rule of Islamic Republic of Iran, we remind you that not just we but even several other international unions and worker organisations have sent you letters and demanded that this regime should be expelled from ILO.

In addition to that, and more clear than everything else, we would like to draw your attention to indictment of Esmaeil Bakhshi, leader of sugar cane workers of Haft Tapeh, against tortures he was subjected to in custody of Islamic Republic of Iran.

Esmaeil Bakhshi and his family are currently under heavy pressure by the Islamic regime to deny his claims of torture, otherwise he will be sent back again to prison with the same situation. So far many other workers’ and civil right activists have joined him to expose the systematic torture and abuse of the workers and the dissent in prisons of Islamic Republic of Iran.

Many of the striking workers, such as workers of Haft Tapeh and National Steel Group of Ahvaz, protested the non payment of their wages and systematic embezzlement that have forced the workers and their families into absolute poverty and destitution.

It is clear that membership of a regime like the Islamic Republic of Iran in ILO is a blatant betrayal of workers, workers’ rights and the humane values that workers of the world stand for. We hold you responsible for that betrayal, and we hold you responsible for allowing membership of Islamic regime in ILO that gives legitimacy to the regime and its crimes against the workers and the people.

Mr Ryder!

We urge you not to stand against the workers and the people. We urge you not to ignore all the organisations that have written to you about inhumane and anti-workers actions of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We urge you not to close your eyes to the everyday abuse and brutal oppression of workers and the people of Iran.

Islamic Republic of Iran must be expelled from the International Labour Organisation immediately and we expect you to make sure that happens.

Free Them Now (Campaign to Free Jailed Worker in Iran ) demands strong condemnation of Islamic Republic of Iran by ILO and expulsion of the regime from the organization.

Free Them Now! Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

Shahla Daneshfar

January 18,2018

Esmaeil Bakhshi’s letter:

Dear Mr Alavi,

During the 25 days of my unfair imprisonment, in the custody of the Ministry of Intelligence, I suffered distress and agonies, which I’m still not free of, and for which I have had to take medications for my mental health. But I have been struggling with two main questions, which only you have the answer to, and it’s my right and the right of the honourable people of Iran to know the answers.

First of all, in the first days of my arrest I was brutally beaten up and tortured. I was unable to move for 72 hours and couldn’t sleep because of the excruciating pain. Until today, almost two months after those difficult days, I steel feel pain in my broken ribs, kidneys, left ear and my testicles.

The torturers called themselves “the unknown soldiers of Imam Zaman” (an eschatological redeemer of Islam), but insulted me and Miss Gholiyan with the crudest sexual insults and beat her up too. But worse than the physical abuse, was the psychological torture. I am not sure what they did to me to feel so broken and still my hands shake because of the tortures.

I was so proud but felt so humiliated and weak that I didn’t recognise myself. Still, despite taking medication for my mental health, I have aggressive panic attacks.

My first question from you who are the Minister of Intelligence and someone who is a religious figure is this: with respect to morals, with respect to human rights, and especially with respect to the religion of Islam, what is the torture sentence of a detainee? Is it right? If it’s right, how much of it?

My second question, which to me and my family is even more important than the physical and psychological torture, is listening to the conversation between me and my wife by your intelligence services.

My interrogator told me that they know everything about me, even how many times my wife argued with me about my activities. When I asked about it, he said they had been listening to my phone calls for a long time, which made me furious during the interrogation.

My and my family’s question from you as the Minister of Intelligence and a religious figure is this: is listening to the most personal conversations of people right morally and with respect to human rights and the religion of Islam? What gives your intelligence system the right to listen to the personal conversations between me and my dear wife?

So, Mr Alavi, I, Esmaeil Bakhshi, invite you to a live television debate to hear your answers.

Esmaeil Bakhshi

4 January 2019

[Translated from Farsi original]

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