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Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran

4.5.2 Right to Work

Under Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), ratified by Iran in 1975, Iran is required to guard against discrimination that would interfere with individuals' enjoyment of the right to work, including employment discrimination on the basis of political beliefs.348 Commenting on ICESCR, art. 6, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights noted that the right to work obliges states "to assure individuals their right … to not be deprived of work unfairly" either by private parties or state actors." 349 The Committee further explained that states must "refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of that right" and prevent the infringement of individuals' right to work through unlawful dismissal by third parties." 350 An International Labor Organization (ILO) convention also ratified by Iran requires state parties to "pursue, as a major goal, an active policy designed to promote … freely chosen employment" that is not dependent on individuals' political opinion." 351

However, women's rights activists repeatedly complain that the Iranian authorities target their employment and right to work because of their activities. Narges Mohammadi was expelled from her post at an engineering firm on account of her affiliation with Defenders of Human Rights Center. Despite having held the post for eight years she was stripped of all benefits.352 Aida Sadaat was fired twice by her employers who explained that they were pressured by the government." 353

In a new purge of universities and schools following the June 2009 election, women's rights activists were dismissed from their teaching posts. Samira Sadri, a women's rights and student's rights activist, was suspended from her position as a school teacher and permanently terminated from the post in December 2009 after seven years of service. Sadri was informed that her termination was on account of her political and human rights activism, as well as that of her husband. In January 2010, Saba Vasefi, a women's rights and children's rights activist, was expelled from her post as a university professor at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, also on account of her women's rights activities.354

4.5.3 Freedom of Movement

Article 133 of Iran's Procedures for Criminal Prosecution provides that individuals may be barred from traveling abroad, but only if an active prosecution case is underway (and the individual is out of prison on bail or a third party financial guarantee).355 According to the Iranian Passport Law, "persons who, according to the written announcement of the judicial officials, are banned from exiting the country."356 If such persons, according to this law, have already been issued a passport, upon attempting to exit the country, "the passport will be confiscated" and "the person

[348] ICESCR supra note 341, art. 6(2).
[349] General Comment No. 18, 7, at 4, available at http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=E/C.12/GC/18.
[350] U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 18, Article 6: The Right to Work, ¶ 4, U.N. Doc. E/C.12/GC/18 (Feb. 6, 2006) [hereinafter General Comment No. 18] available at http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=E/C.12/GC/18.
[351] International Labor Organization [ILO], Convention concerning Employment Policy, at 1, ILO Doc. C122 (July 15, 1966) available at http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp1.htm.
[352] Narges Mohammadi: Ikhraj az Kar Bikhatir-i Fa'aliyathayih Huquq-i Bashari [Narges Mohammadi; Expelled from Her Job For her Human Rights Activities], Radio Farda, Dec. 15, 2009, available at http://www.radiofarda.com/content/f35_Narges_Mohammadi_Officially_Imposed_Job_Loss/1904487.html.
[353] See supra notes 178, 182 and accompanying text.
[354] IHRDC Interview with Saba Vasefi (July 26, 2010) (on file with IHRDC).
[355] Criminal Code of Procedure, supra note 289, art. 133.
[356] Qanun-i Guzarnamihyih Jumhuriyih Islamiyih Iran [Passport Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran] art. 16 (Ratified 1972, amended 1998) [hereinafter Passport Law].

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Sexual Violence, Gender Rights, Death Penalty, Political Killings, Executions, Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, Punishment, Personal Liberty, Arbitrary Detention, Travel Restrictions, Due Process, Right to an Attorney, Illegal Search and Seizure, Free Speech, Right to Protest, Protests, Free Association, Child Rights, Political Freedom, Equality Before the Law, Discrimination