Contact: Blair FitzGibbon
December 11, 2009 202-503-6141
Global Day of Arts in Support of Iran’s Ongoing Civil Rights Movement on Dec. 12th in Over 30 Cities
· Highlights the Ongoing Civil Rights Movement and This Week’s Protests, Largest Since Summer
· Calls On Iran to Respect Freedom of Assembly, Expression, and Press; Free all Prisoners of Conscience
The civil rights movement inside Iran continues to grow and diffuse throughout the society, despite severe repression, widespread arrests, and imprisonment of hundreds of civil society activists. Iranians carried out major protests this week on National Students Day and days following, leading to the largest protests since the summer. Students on university campuses in Iran staged large protests on Monday and Tuesday. Security forces used tear gas, batons, and plastic bullets to prevent the merging of protestors on streets of Tehran and the students. Streets of Tehran were under seize by security and security forces. The government is even more weakened and the slogans and protests are targeting the supreme leader and the government.
Iran experts and activists speaking out in support of the civil rights movement in Iran include Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University Professor and CNN commentator; Hadi Ghaemi, Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran; Firuzeh Mahmoudi, United4Iran’s International Coordinator; Omid Memarian, Iran expert for Human Rights Watch; and Reza Moini, Iran expert for Reporters without Borders (RSF).
In a global expression of solidarity and support for the civil rights movement in Iran, on December 12, 2009, events organized by United4Iran under the banner of ArtsUnited4Iran will focus the world’s attention on the grave situation of human rights in that country. December 12 is the six-month anniversary of the disputed elections and the Saturday after International Human Rights Day. United4Iran, a global network of activists supporting human rights in Iran, is organizing the arts and culture events.
“The civil rights movement in Iran is standing up to militarization and dictatorship. With the ongoing nuclear crisis, it is urgent for the international community to recognize and hear the voices of this movement representing the aspirations of the Iranian people. Our goal is to let the Iranian people know that we hear them and stand with them,” the organizers of ArtsUnited4Iran said.
The arts and culture events will reinforce the international community’s calls on the Iranian government to respect the freedom of assembly, expression, and press, to free all prisoners of conscience, to end rape and torture in prisons, and to hold those responsible for committing human rights crimes accountable.
The ArtsUnited4Iran sponsors include Reporters without Borders, Human Rights Watch, the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Voz Propia Foundation, Pen International, PEN America, PEN Kenya, Writers in Exile Inc, ARTICLE 19, and Front Line. Currently, lectures, concerts, gallery showings, readings, round tables, film screenings, and more are being planned in over 30 locations worldwide, including in Amsterdam, Orlando, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Germany, New York, Tokyo, the United Kingdom, and Washington D.C.
The event will also take place on the United4Iran website, www.united4iran.org, which will display videos and sound recordings of performing and visual artists engaged in poetry readings, displays of photos, paintings, and graphics all made or dedicated in honor of Arts United 4 Iran.
Following the UN General Assembly’s resolution on the situation of human rights in Iran on November 20, 2009, members of the international community are calling on the Iranian government to:
• Respect Freedom of Assembly, Expression, and Press,
• Free all Prisoners of Conscience,
• End Rape and Torture in Prisons,
• Hold Those Responsible for Committing Human Rights Crimes Accountable.
Many acclaimed artists, writers and journalists have broadcast their support for Arts United 4 Iran via messages to the people of Iran and dedication o their work. Prominent Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi dedicated his movie “No One Knows About Persian Cats” to Arts United 4 Iran. United4Iran has received messages of support from filmmaker Narges Kalhor, the daughter of Mehdi Kalhor, cultural advisor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Nikahang Kowsar, prominent cartoonist and journalist; Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist arrested in Iran in January 2009 and imprisoned in Evin prison until May 2009; Maz Jobrani, famous Iranian-American comedian; prominent Costa Rican artist Guadalupe Urbina; the prominent Iranian poet Ismail Khoei; Iranian singers Mohsen Namjoo and Arash Sobhani; Tehran-born singer, composer, and dancer, Sussan Deyhim. U2 used Deyhim’s vocal piece based on the Rumi poem, Beshno Az Ney, in the opening of their performance of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” in Barcelona, which U2 then dedicated to the people of Iran.
United4Iran is a non-political global network of individuals and human rights activists building a mass movement in solidarity with the people of Iran. United4Iran is opposed to blanket economic sanctions and military action against Iran which will have detrimental effects on the situation of human rights and harm the Iranian people.
For more details on December 12 events visit: www.united4iran.org
For more information and interviews contact:
Hamid Dabashi (In New York, English and Persian)
Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature
+1 646 334 9264
Hadi Ghaemi (In New York, English and Persian)
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
+1 917 669 5996
Firuzeh Mahmoudi (In San Francisco, English and Persian)
+1 510 435 4131
Omid Memarian (In San Francisco, English and Persian)
Human Rights Watch
+1 510 637 9590
Reza Moini (In Paris, French and Persian)
Reporters without Borders (RSF)
+33 1 44836054