Protecting Iranian Trade Unionists

13 November 2014

Jude has asked a Parliamentary question about what the EU is doing to protect trade unionists in Iran. 

The deterioration of the human rights situation in Iran has been extensively documented in recent years and is a major cause of concern for the EU as stated by the European External Action Service. In particular, a number of cases of anti union practices and imprisonments of trade union leaders have been reported. For instance Shahrokh Zamani, a founding member of the Paint Workers’ Union of Tehran, and Reza Shahabi, of the Tehran Bus Workers’ Union have been imprisoned since 2012 and 2010 respectively, due to their involvment in the trade union movement. They have been declared prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International. The former EU High Representative reported that "there was a big focus on human rights" during her visit to Iran in March 2014, which included talks held with senior officials such as the President, Foreign Minister, Parliament Speaker, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader, and Secretary of the Supreme Council for National Security.

How does the European External Action Service intend to follow up on this agenda to enforce human rights in Iran? Will it raise demands for the liberation of prisoners of conscience with the Iranian authorities, including the case of Mr Zamani and Mr Shahabi?. 

Do you think the North East needs its own voice in the EU exit negotiations?

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