Iran: Education International demands the unconditional release of teacher unionists

published 28 February 2024 updated 13 March 2024

Education International renewed its call for the release of imprisoned teachers and unionists in Iran and asked for the International Labour Organization (ILO) to follow up on the issue in a recent meeting with the Director General, Gilbert Houngbo in Geneva.

Education International expressed its deep concern about the long-term detention of two French teacher unionists, Cécile Kohler and Jacques Paris, members of Force Ouvrière France. The teachers have been held without due process and in conditions tantamount to torture, since their arbitrary and unlawful arrest on 7 May 2022, while vacationing in Iran. EI, with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), also reported the detention of 14 education union leaders across Iran. These leaders elected members of the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Associations, EI’s affiliate in Iran, continue to be unjustly detained in harsh conditions.

EI and ITUC have jointly asked the ILO to call upon the government of Iran to release all unlawfully imprisoned trade unionists.

The request comes in addition to an existing official complaint to the ILO Committe on Freedom of Association, in which the ILO called on the government of Iran to release those unjustly detained.

Workers and trade unionists exercising their civil liberties, including freedom of association, expression, and assembly, have been subject to persecution, severe prison sentences, and torture.

The Iranian government is urged to take immediate action, both in legislation and in practice, to uphold its international human and trade union rights commitments deriving from its membership in the ILO.