February 28, 2024

On 10 October 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women, children and refugee rights. Reza Akvanian from HRA asked her about the work and contribution of HRA. Read the interview below.
It is approximately 15 years since the inception of the Human Rights Activists in Iran. How do you assess the impact of these activists on the improvement of Human Rights in Iran over the years?
“My assessment of the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) and the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA), as an outsider looking in, is generally positive. Sometimes I see that others intentionally publish inaccurate information on their websites that is just for their benefits; HRANA is different. Of course, there are times that wrong information appears. However, with HRANA, it is not because of malicious intent. It is due to the difficulty of accessing first-hand resources.”-In March 2009, the organization received a major blow, and many human rights activists were arrested and sentenced to prison terms. What was your analysis of such an approach at the time?
“Under the pretext of the controversial presidential election in 2009, the government completely restricted the political environment. Several members of human rights groups and independent activists were arrested, and many entities were closed. I am just talking about our group, The Defenders of Human Rights Center, because I can provide more detailed information in this regard. This center never had a political orientation and has never promoted a particular candidate. Our task is not encouraging people to participate in an election or vice versa. We think that people are free to choose their way. The problem is that what we are facing as human rights activists is a limited political environment. The government even arrested two members of our group. Here, I want to mention Abdolfattah Soltani who was arrested, for the first time, just two days after the election. When he refused to go with the agents and required them to show their warrant for the arrest, strangely, he noticed that the date on their warrant was showing a day before the election. It means that they had distributed some blank, signed forms with a specific date on them, letting the agents write whatever name they wished.