28 protesting workers of Khatoon Abad Copper Mines in custody since January 26, 2016
And a tribute to slain workers of “Khatoon Abad”
28 protesting workers of Khatoon Abad Smelter (Khatoon Abad Copper Mines) were arrested on January 26, 2016. According to available reports, so far there are no official updates on their situation. The 28 arrestees were part of a larger group of workers who had organized demonstrations in order to protest against the layoff of about 170 contract workers who had been previously promised permanent positions.
Khatoon Abad Copper Mines, owned by National Iranian Copper Industries Company, is part of a major industrial complex which is controlled by the state. Many Khatoon Abad workers have been on temporary contracts throughout the years and their efforts for achieving better job security and wages have led to minimal results. As workers in Iran do not have the right to organize independent worker organizations, they primarily rely upon their own resources as well as ad-hoc actions to fight for their rights. This has historically put them in a vulnerable situation.
In spite of these systemic barriers, Khatoon Abad workers have a history of fighting back against unjust corporate practices and governments’ and security forces’ repressions for many years. On January 23, 2004, Iranian security forces and Kerman Province’s special guards brutally attacked protesting workers in the town of Khatoon Abad and the city of Shahr-e-Babak in Kerman Province, killing four workers and a minor and injuring dozens others. The attack was a bloody response to a sit-in and protest action held by the Khatoon Abad’s Copper Smelting plant’s contract workers and their families. The killing of Khatoon Abad workers became a turning point in the recent history of the Iranian labour movement. In 2004, we witnessed an upsurge of labour activism and the formation of organizations fighting back against repressive anti-worker policies. In spite of continued repression, the Iranian labour movement opened a new chapter as of 2004.
For more background information, see IASWI’s statement below on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the killing Khatoon Abad workers and previous documents on our website.
PLEASE SEND protest letters demanding the immediate release of all arrested workers, to:
· Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
Twitter: @khamenei_ir (English) or @Khamenei_fa (Persian)
· President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Twitter: @HassanRouhani (English) and
· The Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran – High Council of Human Rights
· Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
International Alliance in support of workers in Iran (IASWI)
February 1, 2016