Press release – Urgent action on International Women’s Day 2021

8th March 2021

For immediate use

The Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) has called upon trade union leaders in the UK to take urgent action on International Women’s Day (8th March) to highlight the ongoing plight of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The solidarity organisation has highlighted a number of cases, in particular that of Nasrin Sotoudeh, the world-renowned lawyer and human rights activist serving 38 years in prison for simply doing her job.

Sotoudeh has fought for the rights of women, children, religious minorities, journalists and artists, as well as those facing the death penalty.  As a result she has been continuously targeted and harassed by the Iranian authorities and has been arrested and imprisoned several times. Her family has also been targeted to silence their campaign for her release. 

Sotoudeh’s case has won the backing of the European Parliament who have called for the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately and unconditionally release her.  CODIR is asking trade unions in Britain to back this call. 

In an open letter published on 2 March 2021, eight political prisoners in the women’s ward of Iran’s notorious Evin Prison spoke of their concern at the total lack of any attention to the health and safety of the inmates. The letter protested against the gross violations of the fundamental rights of political prisoners currently taking place in Iran.

The eight women political prisoners who put their names to the open letter were: Maryam Akbari Monfared, Alieh Motalebzadeh, Raheleh Asl Ahmadi, Hadith Sabouri, Zeinab Hamrang, Shiva Ismaili, Parisa Rafiei and Athena Daemi.

The letter highlighted the routine depriving of prisoners of their basic rights, including the prison authorities’ refusal to grant leave for family reunion, parole, and the commutating of sentences.  The women also pointed out the authorities’ neglect in providing proper medical care and treatment.

CODIR asserts that the dire situation for women in Iran, and women political prisoners in particular, cannot continue.

On International Women’s Day 2021, CODIR appeals to the labour and trade union movement to campaign with renewed vigour for:-

  • an end to gender-based oppression in Iran;
  • for the cessation of the violent suppression of the women’s movement; and
  • for the release of all political prisoners with immediate effect.


Further information for Editors

Contact Information for CODIR:-

Postal Address:

Further information on CODIR

CODIR is the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights.  It has been established since 1981 and has consistently campaigned to expose human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

CODIR has worked closely with the trade union movement in the UK, the peace movement, all major political parties and Amnesty International to press the case for an end to torture in Iran’s prisons.  Major trade unions in Britain are affiliated to CODIR and support its campaign for peace, human and democratic rights, and social justice in Iran.

CODIR has published Iran Today, its quarterly journal, since 1981, explaining the latest developments in Iran and the most effective way that the British public opinion could demonstrate its solidarity with the people of Iran.

In recent years CODIR has worked closely with Stop the War Coalition and has been vocal against any form of foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the nation.

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