IndustriALL Global Union calls on Government of Iran to release immediately Mahmoud Salehi and Reza Shahabi and respect fundamental human rights and labour rights

Geneva, 15 November 2017

H.E. Hassan Rouhani


Islamic Republic of Iran

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Dear Mr. President,

I am writing this letter to you as the General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union , which represents more than fifty million workers in mining, energy and manufacturing sectors in more than 140 countries, including Iran, to urge you again to immediately release the imprisoned union leaders, including Mahmoud Salehi and Reza Shahabi and to ensure the full respect of fundamental human rights and labour rights in the country.

We have received worrisome reports indicating the persecution, including detention, of workers and trade union leaders for exercising their fundamental trade union rights.  In this sense, we call for the immediate and unconditional release of all imprisoned workers and union leaders.  In particular, we are extremely concerned about the inhumane treatment of prominent labour activists Mahmoud Salehi and Reza Shahabi. Their health and well-being are at great risk.

Long-time labour activist, Mahmoud Salehi, who has been in and out of jail for the past thirty years, was re-imprisoned on 28 October 2017. On 3 November 3, Mr. Salehi suffered a heart attack and was taken to the hospital from the prison; however, he was shockingly transferred back to prison on 11 November despite the fact that only 30 percent of his heart is functioning. Mr. Salehi has lost both of his kidneys during his past imprisonment periods and must undergo kidney dialysis in the hospital twice a week. The life of Mahmoud Salehi will be in grave danger if he remained in prison.

In addition, Reza Shahabi, an executive board member of Tehran Bus Workers’ Union (Vahed Union), has been in and out of prison since 2010. He was re-imprisoned on 9 August 2017. Mr. Shahabi has serious health issues as well, allegedly because of years of mistreatment and torture during his interrogations.  Reza Shahabi must be taken to a civil hospital with full facilities for specialized treatment, and he should be set free unconditionally as he has already served all his sentences.

Furthermore, IndustriALL Global Union once again urges the Government of Iran to ratify ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, and Convention 98 on the Right to organize and Collective Bargaining.

We call on the Government of Iran to put an end to arrests and repression of labour activists, and we reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mahmoud Salehi, Reza Shahabi and all other jailed labour activists.

We anticipate your prompt action and reply.

Sincerely yours,

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