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Around the Globe brings you international news about injustices and workers’ rights. If injustice exists anywhere, it exists everywhere.

Iran: Death in custody sparks women's uprising

Following the death in custody of Kurdish-Iranian woman Jina Mahsa Amini in September 2022, a new wave of murderous repression has swept across Iran. In the months since, Iranian women have bravely risen up against a regime that has engaged in systematically violating the rights of the Iranian people, in particular, the rights of women, religious and ethnic minorities, political activists, and the LGBTIQA+ community.

More than 400 people have been killed and 15,000 have been arrested – including at least 700 teenagers. Of great concern is a recent statement issued by 227 Iranian parliamentarians who are calling for the execution of protesters. Unions have held nation-wide strikes and union leaders are among the thousands who have been arrested. Among the first to go on strike were educators and students.

As unionists, we must amplify the voices of the teachers and students whose freedom and lives are under attack. We should never hesitate to stand up for what is right and to give voice to ‘women, life, freedom’!
Khazar Lotfi, Iranian-Dutch teacher and unionist.

Education International said the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teachers’ Trade Associations (CCITTA) was the first to call upon educators and students to protest the regime’s brutality by going on strike. Iranian-Dutch educator and unionist Khazar Lotfi says “schools are not protected, and educational environments that should be safe havens of knowledge and growth have been turned into battlegrounds by the regime’s forces, who viciously beat down peaceful protesters, no matter their age”.

“Jin, Jiyan, Azadi”, which translates to “Women, Life, Freedom”, is one of the slogans protestors are using to call for equality, safety and choice for women in Iran. The slogan has its origins in the Kurdish freedom movement during the late 20th century and has come back into the fore after crowds started chanting it during Amini’s funeral.

The situation in Iran has seen strong international support from organisations and trade unions. Education International has played a strong role in building international solidarity with women and girls in Iran, passing an Executive Board Resolution in Brussels expressing solidarity with Iranian teacher unions.

IEUA delegates attended the Education International Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Cambodia in October. Delegates supported a resolution by CCITTA which “joins Education International, global union federations, and the ITUC, in condemning brutality of the Iranian authorities against the recent protests in Iran following the killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini and calls for stronger international solidarity with the people of Iran and further pressure against the Iranian regime to hold them accountable for its repressive policies and actions against trade unions, women and other oppressed groups”.

Katie Camarena Journalist