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Narges Mohammadi: Help the civil society in Iran
Sat 10 12 2016

Dear colleagues in the international human rights organizations
And United Nations Commission on Human Rights:
Since the universal declaration of human rights, many generations have taken different approaches. Today, activists and the thinkers believe that development of human rights depends on the development of civil society, and thus try to broaden it. But the undemocratic powers are also aware of it and try to prevent the fulfillment of civil society by all means.
The civil society formed in Iran is one of those under severe suppression by the government, and the activists are standing against this suppression with civil, nonviolent practices. I am a small member of this civil society, who has been sentenced to 22 years in the last five years, 16 years of which is applicable, and I am serving my term in Evin prison. Since 1992 I have been a member or a founder of ten independent civil institutions, all of which have been crushed by the wave of suppression. In the recent years, independent and well known institutions such as Association of Journalists, Defenders of Human Rights Center, Association of the Defence of Prisoners' Rights, National Peace Council, Writers Association, Participation Front, Revolution Mojahedin Organization, Freedom Movement of Iran, National- Religious Coalition, Teachers Union, Union of Workers, Office for Consolidation (Students), Advare Tahkime Vahdat Organization (Graduates), Women's Cultural Center, Campaign for One Million Signatures (for the repeal of discriminatory laws against women)..., despite their public acceptance, have been under severe and costly pressure by the government, and the government has stopped them using unlawful security measures.
While the countries in the region are deeply involved in war and extremism, and the military solutions have proven useless, it is important to notice that war and sanctions which target people, in fact target human rights by weakening the civil society. You might think, as I do, that development of civil society, as the backbone of democracy and human rights, is the only way to stay away from these kinds of plagues against humanity.
International supervision on the observance of human rights in Iran is essential and must be pursued, but we shouldn't forget that an approach to guarantee human rights through institutionalizing independent and people- oriented institutions in the society is of vital importance.
Now I am in a prison in which there are 32 women sentenced to a total of 232 years, and we have spent at least 169 months in security cells ( of Revolutionary Guards and Intelligence Ministry). What I have written in this short letter is a sample of the suppressed institutions and imprisoned activists.
I ask you dear colleagues and human rights activists, including those in Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, Pen International, Nobel Women's Initiative, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate the situation of civil institutions in Iran and to ask their respective countries and other international organization to object to the violation of human rights and suppression and torture of activists in Iran, and to ask the Iranian authorities to stop suppressing civil institutions, and to observe the constitution of the country.
In the end, I'd like to thank each and every one of you who have been following my condition, and I appreciate your support for the democratic demands of my fellow country men and women and warmly shake your hands.

Narges Mohammadi
Vice president and spokesperson of Defenders of Human Rights Center
Evin Prison

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Defenders of Human Rights Center
Member of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)