LatinaLista — Shirin Ebadi is a name that most people don’t know but for the people of Iran for whom this human rights activist, lawyer and first Muslim woman Nobel laureate has defended, she is very well known.
Iranian human rights activist and Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi
In fact, she’s so well known in Iran that the government is afraid of what she can accomplish and so they have begun a campaign of intimidation to stop Shirin Ebadi from helping her countrymen and promoting human rights and democracy.
On December 21, 2008, just prior to a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Iranian security forces raided and closed the Defenders of Human Rights Center and the Center for Participation in Clearing Mined Areas, both founded by Dr. Ebadi.
On December 29, government officials raided Dr. Ebadi’s private law office and seized her computers and confidential case files. Officials justified confiscation on pretense of investigations regarding tax evasion, despite Dr. Ebadi having been cleared by tax officials just days earlier.
On the morning of January 1, 2009, a mob of 150 men attacked the building that houses both Ebadi’s home and office. She called police to the scene, who arrived only to stand by and watch. The mob chanted and spray-painted accusations against Ebadi across the exteriors, vandalizing her home and office, and attempted to kick down the door. The police did not intervene.
The Nobel Women’s Initiative (NWI) is worried about Dr. Ebadi’s safety. Though she and her daughter have been the routine targets of threats, the stepped up efforts by the government signal that something more serious is to come.
For that reason, the NWI is asking the public to join the international community and demand that the Iranian government stop intimidating Shirin Ebadi and other human rights defenders. The NWI urges people to find the Iranian embassy in their country and write to secure the safety and protection of Ebadi and other human rights activists, so they may continue their critical work in Iran free from fear.
Make sure the United Nations takes action as well. Write to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, and ask that she appoint a special investigator to look into the intimidation and harassment of Shirin Ebadi. Click here for a letter to Ms. Pillay from Nobel Peace Laureates.
Shirin Ebadi vows never to leave Iran, regardless of what the government does to her.
In this global age where it is easy to see, hear and read what is happening around the world, there is no excuse not to know what is happening in Iran but even more, there is no reason not to do something about it.