Britain’s biggest trade union calls for release of all political prisoners in Iran

UNISON supports CODIR’s campaign for the release of women political prisoners in Iran!

Following CODIR’s launching, on 8 March 2021, of a campaign drawing attention to the plight of several women detained in Evin Prison in Iran and calling for the release of all political prisoners in the country; UNISON wrote to Iran’s Ambassador to the UK to protest the issues raised in the campaign and copied the letter to the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab.

CODIR applauds, congratulates, and is grateful for the proactive actions of UNISON on the back of this campaign, which have served to significantly further awareness of these issues and bring pressure to bear upon the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran – making the situation significantly more difficult for them to cover up and ignore as they would prefer.

Please find below, a copy of the main body of the letter sent by UNISON to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in London and copied to the UK Foreign Secretary…

“Dear Ambassador,

On behalf of UNISON’s 1.3 million members in public services in the UK, I am writing to express our deep concern about the treatment of women political prisoners in Iran.

We are particularly concerned about the harassment, arrest and imprisonment of women for defending human rights. These include the prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose detention has been described as arbitrary, unlawful and disproportionate by UN experts; Marzieh Amiri, a journalist who was detained after attending an international workers’ day rally in Tehran; Niloufar Bayani, who is serving a 10-year sentence after an unfair trial, for her conservation work; and Atena Daemi, who is currently incarcerated for condemning the execution of political prisoners, after serving a five year sentence in connection to her advocacy work on the rights of children. Many other women have been arrested and imprisoned for campaigning for gender equality.

On 2 March 2021 a number of women political prisoners detained in Evin prison published an open letter highlighting their concern at the conditions in Iran’s prisons. In his recent report to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran described the conditions in prisons as overcrowded and unhygienic, and highlighted the denial of access to adequate and prompt medical treatment, which is of particular concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also expressed deep concern at the high use of the death penalty, particularly against protestors.

We request that you urge the government of Iran to protect women’s rights by taking immediate steps to:

  • End gender-based oppression in Iran;
  • End the violent suppression of women’s rights activists;
  • Release all political prisoners, including women human rights defenders.

Thank you for your consideration of these important issues.

Yours sincerely”

We appeal to all trade unions and labour movement organisations to consider taking similar actions in furtherance of this important campaign.

The address of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in London is as follows:

Mr Hamid Baeidinejad

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

6 Prince’s Gate



Email address:

(Of course, please let us know of any action you decide to take – which we definitely go on to highlight positively.)

Thank you


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