International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI)

Attachment to the letter of invitation for further information on ICAVI

International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI)

In 2009, the International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI) is established by a number of Iranians who believe in the need to stop the growing violence in Iran. The coalition enjoys the support of individuals, groups and organisations who uphold the universal and indivisible principles of human rights as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

ICAVI rejects all violent and repressive acts, be they institutional, legal, physical, psychological, or verbal as a means of attaining social, political, cultural or personal goals at the expense of individuals of all backgrounds, groups (such as women and children), or ethnic and religious minorities.

ICAVI is against capital punishment and denounces extreme forms of it as practiced in Iran, such as stoning to death and will strive to abolish it. It also denounces state-sponsored murders, kidnapping, detention, rape, torture and imprisonment without trial or trials without the presence of a lawyer and long sentences without legal justification.

ICAVI believes that state’s institutionalisation of violence, regardless of its forms and degree, legitimises the proliferation of traditional, socio-cultural forms of brutality and encourages crime and criminality in Iranian society.

ICAVI Charter

  • ICAVI believes that profound changes can be achieved through a long-term, non-violent and peaceful educational process.
    • ICAVI believes that widespread violence takes many forms, and exists at many levels in the Iranian society. It has proliferated in recent decades and reached an alarming scale.
    • ICAVI believes that social change and the elimination of violence can only be achieved through respect for human life and dignity, the elimination of all violence-based laws, and the promotion of the rule of law based on international codes and standards and through peaceful means.
    • ICAVI believes that Iranian people are equal, irrespective of their race, colour, sex, wealth, language, religion and beliefs, ethnic or social orientation and status.
    • ICAVI embraces the UDHR and reiterate the following:

No one shall be subjected to torture, nor shall they face cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

Anyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until legally proven guilty in a public trial at which they have enjoyed all guarantees necessary for their defence.

No one shall be deemed guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence under national or international law.

ICAVI believes that all Iranians must have the right to:

  • Freedom of expression and assembly
  • Freedom of opinion and belief
  • Freedom of movement, travel and residence
  • Freedom of choice in education and employment
  • Freedom of marriage and/ or cohabitation, with the entitlement to equal rights during and after its dissolution.
  • Freedom of self-expression and choice, in particular as relates to dress.

ICAVI Strategies

  • Participation in and contribution to the ongoing debates within Iranian civil society on reform of the legal system, shift in attitudes towards crime and punishment and bringing the law to the international standards.
  • Educational work, research and campaigning through conferences, workshops and events.
  • Appeals to the international community for support in dealing with the situation in Iran.

ICAVI invites all groups, organisations and individuals inside and outside Iran who, share all or part of its vision, values and charter to join it on the peaceful road towards the elimination of all forms of violence which have plagued the Iranian society.

Let us remember Sa’adi of Shiraz who wrote:

 “ As created from the same essence

     children of Adam are one body

     Adam and soul.”

Let us follow the road of:

  • Mahatma Gandhi in India, who believed in non-violent resistance and the power of truth (SatiaGraha).
  • Martin Luther King in the US, whose dream was to eliminate discrimination in the American society,
  • Nelson Mandela in South Africa, who forgave his jailers and paved the way for the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
  • Mayread Corrigan Maguire inNorthern Ireland who campaigned for a non-violent path to end violence.
  • Leyma Gbwee in Liberia, who campaigned to end the 14 years war in her country.

 Let us agree with Jaleh Esfahani of Iran who said:

“Desire the best in life

      for, every victory

      was a wish at birth.”

This is our way forward. It is Iran’s Road-Map in the twenty first century.

2- ICAVI annual conferences and documentaries in cooperation with other organizations: 2010-2011

Exiled Writers Ink,

International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI)

One Million Signature Campaign

Commemorate:

Iranian women: heroines or victims of transgression?                 Photo: Shahrokh Raisi    

On the occasion of the anniversary of the disputed presidential elections

and against the violence and terror that followed:

Women of Iran in coalition with their international allies present

a memorable evening of music, poetry, short films, analysis and debate.

Chair: Jennifer Langer, Exiled Writers Ink

Mansour Izadpanah, music to remember

Shirin Alam Hoii

Mehrangiz Rassapour (Pegah), poetry

Hila Sedigh, poetry recital with English sub-title

Shirin Razavian, poetry

Chair: Rouhi Shafii, ICAVI

Ann Harrison, Amnesty International Middle East Section

Sara Parhizgari; One Million Signature Campaign

Questions and Answers

Short film made by ICAVI.

16 June 6.30-8.30pm

Free Word Centre,60 Farringdon Rd, London EC1R 3GA (Farringdon tube)

            ICAVI conference 2010

A non-violent Approach to the Growing Violence in Iran

In Persian

International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI)

Sponsored by Centre for Gender Studies of

School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS)

A Day conference in Persian

6 November 2010

9.30 am-5 pm

Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS,

Registration: £12 at the door (includes music, light lunch, coffee & refreshments)

Speakers:

  • Dr Ramin Jahanbegloo
  • Mehrangiz Kar
  • Ziba Mirhosseini
  • Rezvan Moghadam
  • Rouhi Shafii

For further information please go to:

www.icavi.org

To register:

Contact: icavi@icavi.org

International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI)

In Cooperation with

Exiled Writers Ink

And Sponsored by Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS

SOAS University

Symposium of Documentaries

5 November 2011

Programme

1.45: Registration

1.40

Welcome

Rouhi Shafii, Director ICAVI

2.00

Don’t Bury My Heart

Saba Vasefi

2.15

In the Middle of Nowhere

Farah Shilandary

2.30

Don’t Forget Women Victims of Violence in Iran

Alieh Mottalbzadeh

Farideh Ghaeb

2,45

Break

3.00

Panel Discussion

Chair:

Rouhi Shafii

Panel:

Farah Shilandari, Saba Vasefi, Mohammed Nayebi, Mehri Jafari

5.00

End

3-ICAVI campaigns on behalf of the Iranian people to end violence in Iran:

ICAVI has written letters and issued statements on various occasions to the international bodies and the public. A sample of which can be read as follows:

10 May 2010-05-10

His Excellency Ban Ki Monn

Secretary General of the United Nations

Dear Sir

The Islamic Republic of Iran hanged 5 political prisoners on 9 May in Evin prison.

The regime governing Iran has once again demonstrated that it has no respect for human rights and human dignity and more than that no regards for the international community which have repeatedly denounced the increasing number of executions in Iran especially of the political prisoners. The Islamic regime has completely set aside the principles which are encoded in Islamic teachings of compassion and forgiveness let alone the principles accepted by most states of regards for human rights and human dignity and has accelerated killing innocent people whom it has detained and kept in detention under torture and inhumane conditions.

The Islamic republic has repeatedly accused political prisoners, especially those belonging to ethnic groups and religious minorities, of involvement in acts of terrorism which is totally untrue and they have denied the charges even under torture. These prisoners have been denied access to lawyers or have been tried without due process, or have been denied visits by their families and then executed in the early hours without the knowledge of their loved ones or lawyer.

Once again, in the early morning of Sunday, 9 May 2010 Iranian regime hanged 5 prisoners in the Evin prison without their lawyers or their families being notified. One of these political prisoners was Farzad Kamangar, a simple teacher, who had simple aspirations for his young students. Iranian Kurdistan is in mourning for the loss of its children as is the rest of Iran.

The region of Kurdistan has been treated like a country under siege since the birth of the Islamic Republic. Kurdistan has had a large share of suppression, imprisonment and executions all through the years. Indeed, the whole of the country has experienced nothing but violence and corruption since the Islamic regime took to power some 31 years ago.

Today, more than ever the Iranian people need to reach out to the outside world for help to stop the madness created by a ruling elite who systematically drive the country into ruins and suppress the Iranian people especially ethnic minorities, religious minorities, women, students, journalists, intellectuals, workers and anyone who speaks against their interests.

International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI) along with other groups and individuals sends its condolences to the families of Farzad Kamangar, Shirin Alam Hooie, Farhad Vakili, Mehdi Eslamian and Ali Heidarian.

ICAVI is against all forms of violence and denounces the use of death penalty for any crime. ICAVI denounces today’s executions and calls on all the international and human rights bodies to find solutions to the escalating violence and abuse of human rights in Iran.

International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI)

icavi@icavi.org

Statement on the occasion of the presidential elections in June 2009 in Iran

Over years, we, as part of Iranian women’s movement and civil rights advocates with diverse backgrounds; NGOs, political parties, various campaigns, media, trade unions and individuals

had tried various methods and when necessary, had walked in unison to pursue our demands.

On the occasion of the forthcoming presidential elections in Iran, we are determined to form another broad coalition in order to once again put forward these essential demands. Our goal is to present our demands to the candidates. We neither support any specific candidate, nor interfere with the rights of citizens to participate or reject the elections.

The coalition of women’s movement aims:

  • To divert the dominant state-machismo discourse towards a more conciliatory tone in order to address the needs of the civil society, especially women’s delayed demands.
  • To attract the attention of the authorities and to their responsibilities to the public, especially the most deprived and marginalised sectors;
  • To address the presidential candidates that if they require the votes of women, students, teachers and other social groups, they must include their needs and demands in their programmes.
  • To show that even under harshest social and political conditions it is possible to be an effective and responsible citizen and press for a better and just society.
  • To achieve these goals, we women must prove that we have the ability and the courage to seek all peaceful and civil avenues. Our past experiences had demonstrated that whenever a window of opportunity has opened for women, the misogynists had interfered and women had faced further discriminations, limitations and inhumane violence.

What do we women want?

  • Equal rights as the essence of women’s collective demands and the elimination of all forms of gender, ethnic, religious and class discrimination. Iranian women of all social background share this common belief that social strata construct and effect gender relations. Hence, to achieve democracy, civil liberties and citizen’s rights, women have long fought shoulder to shoulder with men. Today, as in the past and along with other social groups and aside from our specific demands as women, we demand;
  • The recognition of people’s freedoms as specified in the Constitution, including freedom of speech, assembly and else.
  • To end pressures on women, students, teachers, workers, ethnic and religious minorities and individuals.

We are well aware that gender equality is a pre-condition to democracy, sustainable development and the creation of a society which is void of violence, poverty and injustice. Hence, we urge the presidential candidates to include our two main demands which we summarise as follows:

  1. To actively pursue the re-joining of the Convention of Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

We are aware that this proposal was submitted to the Sixth parliament in the Seventh government (the first cabinet of Mohammad Khatami) and ratified by the members but was rejected by the Council of Guardians. This proposal was later presented to the Expediency Discernment Council, which the president was a member.  We urge the presidential candidates to put this proposal at the top of their priorities with respect to the principles of equality and non-discrimination of citizens.

  • We endeavour to eliminate discriminatory laws against women, specifically Articles 19, 20, 21 and 115 of the Constitution with respect to the principle of unconditional gender equality. We are aware that the president has no power to change laws but we are also aware that if the government is committed to the principle of equality and views it as its responsibility, it is able to utilise its capabilities and to encourage the parliament to include the principle of equality in the Constitution.

     What will we do in the future?

  • In order to explain and expand our demand, we will do whatever action is necessary to reach the three levels; general public, civil society and the presidential candidates. The forthcoming elections have offered an opportunity for us to promote our demands in favour of women.

How can we do that?

Through our peaceful and collective actions, we will determine the future of this broad coalition and will invite and encourage groups and individuals to join us and to shape the future of this coalition.

To join in or sign this statement, please contact:

Emial:activistwomenforum@gmai.com

ICAVI representatives attend the side UN Human Rights Council Sessions and produce reports on the situation in Iran at the side events held simultaneously.

Here is a report on the various activities around the sessions in which ICAVI participated.

Rouhi Shafii ICAVI executive director presented a report compiled by ICAVI on the abuse of human rights and violence in Iran.

  • ICAVI at the UN Human Rights Sessions in Geneva 2010-2012:

Report compiled by ICAVI representative in the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva

March 10-23-2012

The United Nations Council on Human Rights had its 16 session from 10 March to 23 in Geneva, during which Iranians from across Europe held talks, demonstrations and lobbied the delegates to vote for special rapporteur to be sent to Iran.

The fist side session was held on 10 March, where speakers from across the board reported on the human rights violations in Iran. Dr Mostafa Azmayesh, International of International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights in Iran spoke about the suppression of Gonabadi Dervishes in Iran. Dr morad Golmoradi spoke about the suppression of “Dervishes of Ahleh Hagh” in Kurdistan. Nazenin ansari, journalist and diplomatic editor of weekly London Keyhan read a letter written by the imprisoned Ayatollah Boroujerdi Kazemaini who is being held for more than 4 years in prison and his followers including a number of women had been detained as well. Dayan Alaie spoke about the situation of the Bahais in Iran.

During this session, Mr Deyhim of the Islamic Republic of Iran replied to some of the concerns raised by the speakers and supported the Islamic Republic actions in suppressing various groups and trends of thought in the country.

On 11 March a session held by Dr Ziba MirHosseini and a panel of experts on Islam and the issue of “Zina “ or adultery in Islam raised a number of vital issues regarding the revival of the law of  “Zina” to suppress sexuality and control women. Dr Mirhosseini and a colleague,Vanja Hamzic have recently published a book: Control and Sexuality (The Revival if Zina Laws in Muslim Countries)  which was launched on the day.

The second session; Torture, Violence in the Islamic Republic began with a panel of three. Rouhi shafii, Director of ICAVI spoke of violence and its implications and implementation in Iran. 

Antonia Bertshinger of Amnesty International spoke of the increasing number of executions in Iran since the beginning of the current year.

Puyan Mahmudian, a student from Tehran University spoke of the repression and violence against students.

The issue of Mourning Mothers was raised and Rouhi Shafii explained about the nature of Groups of Mourning Mothers in Iran and their chain support groups outside the country.

On 12 March, Iranians present in Geneva held an-all-day demonstrations in front of the UN buildings.

On 14 March, Secretary General’s report on Iran was presented to the Council. Simultaneously, Iranians held demonstrations which lasted for hours.

On 15 March the rights of minorities and ethnic groups was discussed. Mr Kaveh Ahangaran from Kurdistan Democratic Party spoke of the regions problems. He emphasised on two key problems: a- the rights of nationals and b- women’s rights. He reiterated that in the Islamic Republic constitution “the political structure of such social convention is in essence against human rights”.

On 16 March, women’s rights was the focus of side sessions.  Rezvan Moghadam, one of ICAVI founders and women’s rights activist spoke in detail about the violation of the rights of women and presented a long list of women who are currently in prison charged with various crimes, those who have been kidnapped, raped and murdered and those who had been kidnapped and their families were unable to trace them.

Interesting to note was the approach and the behaviour of the vast number of the Iranian delegation who claimed to represent an  independent “NGO” from the  country but instead their hostile approach and the support given by the official representatives of the Islamic Republic  proved otherwise.

Another interesting observation was the presence of hundreds of Iranians from around Europe who lobbied the delegates on the abuse of human rights in Iran.

Finally, on 23 March UN Human Rights council voted on the special Rapporteur to Iran.  22 countries voted for the motion: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Guatemala, Hungry, Japan, Maldiv,Mexico, Norway, Poland, Maldova, South Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, Ukraine, UK, US, Zambia . Seven voted against: Bangladesh, china, Cuba, Ecuador, Mauritania, Pakistan and Russia. Fourteen countries abstained.

End

Appendix No 1

UN General Secretary report:

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/16session/A.HRC.16.75_AUV.

Appendix No 2:

Report from the 10 March Side Session on the abuse of the rights of minorities:

http://www.hriran.com/1389-09-08-13-52-34/4-6/2717-1389-12-20-03-47-08.html

Appendix No 3:

Rouhi Shafii :

Violence and discrimination, ingrained components of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

My talk is about violence in Iran and its consequences for the Iranian people.

First, I’m going to briefly give a definition of violence and methods of implicating violence. Then I will relate it to the Iranian situation.

Violence is the use of force either physically, psychologically, verbally or visually, politically, educationally and economically, on an individual, group or society as a whole.

Violence is an act used by individuals or groups to gain power through the use of force.

Violence is a method or system used by individuals or groups unable to maintain non-violent methods of communications.

Violence is a strategy taken by individuals, groups or states, to resolve contradictions and tensions.

Various types of violence

State over people

Group over group or individuals

Individuals over individuals or groups

All forms of violence contradict and abuse the basic rights and freedoms

of individuals, groups or the society as a whole.

Violence can be imposed and institutionalised in the public spheres such as workplaces and street, civil society institutions such as societies, clubs, groups, political parties or the private sphere such as homes. Spheres of implementation of violence are wide and unlimited. The most common sphere is the society as a whole, where people’s rights are violated due to their association with a political party, organisation or ideological trend of thought or gender tendencies. Violence can be institutionalised systematically and harmoniously by the state or organised groups supported by the state. The most obvious forms of violence is discrimination which is imposed against women and other non-conformist groups or individuals.  Discrimination can have no boundaries and can develop in the economy, politics, education and culture or in the private sphere.

In a country such as Iran which is ruled by a group or groups of people with no regards to the complexities of modern Iranian society, resorting to discrimination, and violence has become common practice. For the past 32 years in Iran, violence and deceit as a strategy have replaced the strategy of tolerance, dialogue and peaceful co-existence among the politicians and the people.

In our country Iran, the president and other government functionaries go through the tight selecting process and chosen by the ruling elite to be elected by the people. In the modern world and democracies, people select and elect their candidates and political leaders and have the right to control their behaviour all through their serving time. Democratic process in Iran as claimed by the Iranian government, is only and only on the paper and is void of substance. The strategy of deceit has demonstrated itself in the last presidential elections. As people demonstrated their objections to the vote rigging their response was tear gas, rubber bullets, detention, torture, rape abduction and execution.

In democratic countries where people elect their representatives, they have the right to un-elect them if they violate people’s trust. This is carried out by non-violent negotiations and parliamentary processes by and through people’s representatives and the governments.  In a country such as Iran, which is ruled by autocracy, resorting to such methods is beyond the reach of people. The Islamic Republic has the monopoly over all resources, economy, politics, culture and civil society and is able and has demonstrated that it will resort to violence directly, through the use of force and mobilising its revolutionary guard, militia, intelligence, or indirectly through imposing education and culture or deprivation of the society of its individual and group rights.

In democratic countries, the governments resort to tolerance, dialogue with the people and their representatives to utilise and develop the society’s capacity and capabilities and build trust and promote hope among the people and the elected ruling class. In Iran and from the onset of the establishment of the Islamic Republic, it has alienated the people with the principle of trust and non-discriminatory practices.  The inherent violence in the beliefs and the behaviour and the practices of the Islamic Republic of Iran has created a society which has developed a chronic-violent behaviour and mistrust and self-contradiction.  

 Contradiction between the people and Islamic Republic have deepened and institutionalised throughout the 32 years of arbitrary rule.

The establishment of the Islamic Republic was based on the Islamic interpretation of one reading of Islam and therefore, the constitution, the judiciary and civil  laws did not equally regarded the right of all the peoples of Iran.  In 1979, the Iranian society was redesigned to suit the aspirations of the newly formed state, where from the onset it demonstrated its disregard to the complexities of modern world and as the contradiction between the state and the people increased so did the methods of suppression and violence. The increased intervention and the influence of the revolutionary guards and the intelligence in the economy, politics and the judiciary have worsened the situation gradually.

Here, I will go into some details on the discrimination and violence in Iran.

From the onset, women as half the population were regarded and demoted to second class citizens and their life in its entirety went under  the control of religion. Billions were spent towards the establishment of various corpses to control women’s dress code on the streets. Days and years and billions were wasted on the ‘women’s issue’ through decrees, circulars, change in the school books and educational establishments. The judiciary gave the militia and intelligence a free hand to harass, detain and insult and belittle women. They were deprived of the right to divorce, to choose place of residence, profession, travel and education. The custody of children was taken away from them. They were discriminated  harassed in public places. The right to their bodies was transferred to men. Men have the right to rape them in marriage or kill them as their honour. The respect they enjoyed through tradition as women, was replaced by breaking doors and taking women away in the middle on nights in front of husbands and children to unknown detention centres. Disrespect of women has become a normal practice through intimidation, use of violent language and rape while in custody.

The only sphere that women have remained equal to men is prison, torture and execution.

Violence in the Islamic Republic is not limited to gender discrimination. Though individual freedoms and civil rights has been stipulated in the constitution, the strategy of zero tolerance, ban on associations and censorship of press and printing materials and on the internet and cyber space; harassment and detention of activists has deprived the Iranian civil society to flourish. 

Iran does not have an independent judiciary system. Judges and prosecutors are chosen from amongst those who have a disregard for justice or justice has a different interpretation from what justice shall be. Due to the increased active intervention of the intelligence in the judiciary, detainees are deprived of fair trials. Lawyers are deprived to see their defendants or review files and defend them. Trials last few minutes or hours and detainees are accused of imaginary crimes and sentenced to long-term prison sentences or prison in exile and sent away to remote locations to cause them further hardship. The judiciary system has transferred part of the law from the public to the private. The law of Ghesas or retribution had potentially created a murderer out of every Iranian citizen. A juvenile called Ehsan was murdered in a street fight by another juvenile, Behnoud. Ehsan’s mother was given the honour to pull the stool from under Behnoud’s feet which she did and killed him. Shahla Jahed who was accused of murdering Laleh Saharkhizan was hanged in prison by Laleh’s brother. Ameneh, a young woman who has been blind on both eyes by acid thrown by her ex-boyfriend has been given the go-ahead to throw acid into the young man’s eyes to blind him.

The mass killings of early 1980s, the chain killings of the 1990s, the murder of individuals outside the country, such as Shahpour Bakhtiar and Fereydoun Farokhzad and the murder of  individuals inside the country such as Zahra Baniyaquob, a young doctor, who was detained while walking with her fiancé in a park in Hamadan and murdered an hour later; Zahra kazemi, Canadian, Iranian journalist in the Evin prison a few days after detention, Zahra Bahrami, the Dutch, Iranian citizen who was accused of various crimes and killed before being tried; the killings in Kahrizak detention centre after the 2009 disputed presidential elections and the murder of the young doctor who attended to the detainees all indicate the abhorrence of the situation of the violence in Iran.     

In demonstrations of 14 February 2011, the number of detainees is unknown. What happens to them is evident from the treatment of anxious families at the gates of the Evin prison. The final chapter of violence in Iran can be closed by the mention of the kidnapping of the two presidential candidates, Mir-hossein Moudavi and Zahra Rahnevard and Mehdi Karubi and Fatemeh Karubi who were put under house arrest and later taken away among unprecedented security precautions.

Ladies and gentlemen, violence in Iran which is derived directly from the policies of mismanagement of the rulers of Iran cannot be summarised in few minutes talk. With developments in the region we hope to see developments in our country towards non-violence and prosperity.

Appendix no 4:

United Nations Human Rights council report on the decision to send special rapporteur to Iran:

Rezvan Moghada, ICAVI advisor talk at the side event in Geneva: Women’s situation in Iran:

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