Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Iran aims at civil society

A student in one of Kevin James' classes at Albany High School (California) pointed out the Iranian government's efforts to take control of NGOs. Thankfully, the message got passed on via the AHS Comparative Government blog. That's how I heard of it. Thanks to both of you.

The press release comes from Amnesty International in the UK.

Iran: Independent civil society organisations facing obliteration
Amnesty International and NGO Arseh Sevom have called on the Iranian Parliament to scrap a draft law which would effectively deregister all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) currently operating in Iran.

The Bill requires all NGOs wishing to continue or commence work to register via a new supervisory structure. This structure will allow bodies affiliated to the Intelligence Ministry and the Basij, a volunteer paramilitary force controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, to make key decisions on the operation of all NGOs.

Amnesty International and Arseh Sevom said that the Bill on the Establishment and Supervision of NGOs was a setback which would be yet one more nail in the coffin of the right to freedom of association in Iran…

Amnesty International and Arseh Sevom said that the Bill would sound the death knell for civil society in Iran, which has been under considerable pressure from the authorities since the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005.  Civil society activists have faced harassment, threats and arrest in connection with their work, and their organisations have been closed down, often without a court order.  Some have been sentenced to prison terms or flogging, and many have taken the reluctant decision to flee the country, fearing for their safety…

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