Support Iranian teacher by American teachers

Ms. Irina Bokova,
Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Dear Ms. Bokova,

On behalf of the California Federation of Teachers and in celebration of the World Teachers’ Day (October 5), we would like to express our solidarity with the hard- working, dedicated, and courageous teachers of Iran. According to UNESCO, World Teachers' Day represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contributions that teachers make to education and development of all countries. Many Iranian teachers, however, are suffering from increasing economic hardship and socio-political repression of their civil rights instead of being appreciated. Independent human rights organizations have been reporting on the increasing crackdown on teachers unions, violation of academic freedom, and widespread harassment, layoff, and detention of teachers who have committed no crimes other than engaging in non-violent civil activism over their issues of concern, legitimate and legal demands. One case in point is Farzad Kamangar, a 32-year-old Iranian teacher from Kamyaran, who was executed in May 2010. According to a more recent report (*) three teachers have been placed on death row and face imminent execution. The Education International Organization (EI) has begun its effort to stop these executions.
On this day of international solidarity among teachers (October 5, 2012), we express our concern about such violation of civil rights and academic freedom of teachers and professors in Iran. Along with the EI, we rise in support of the Iranian teachers and call upon the Iranian government, its judiciary and security apparatus to release the imprisoned teachers immediately. Further, we call upon the Iranian government to stop persecution and prosecution of teachers who exercise their freedom of speech and basic human and civil rights of assembly and association. We hereby give our full support to the international initiatives in support of Iranian teachers spearheaded by human rights activists such as Nobel Peace Laureate, Dr. Shirin Ebadi. We urge the Iranian government to honor the basic rights of teachers and their representatives which are clearly enshrined in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic and supportedMs. Bokova/Page 2
by various international conventions to which the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been a signatory.

Joshua Pechthalt, President
President, California Federation of Teachers

JP: rp opeiu537 afl-cio
cc: Ministry of Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran

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