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Iran: Trade Unions

Volume 473: debated on Thursday 13 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Iranian government in support of the rights of Iranian trade unionists; and if he will make a statement. (193076)

We remain concerned about the Iranian Government’s action against trade unionists defending workers’ rights in Iran. The Government and the EU consistently raise concerns about the repression and detention of labour rights activists with the Iranian authorities. My hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East, (Dr. Howells) expressed our serious concerns to the Iranian ambassador when prominent trade unionist Mansour Ossanlou was arrested last July, The EU presidency, with strong UK support, also expressed concerns about Mr. Ossanlou’s situation with the Iranian authorities in Tehran on at least five occasions last year. The EU presidency raised labour activist Mahmoud Salehi’s detention at least four times. Mr. Salehi was the subject of a further EU demarche on 22 January and an EU presidency declaration on 28 January. Most recently on the International Trade Union Confederation global day of action in support of Iranian workers on 6 March, my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East (Dr. Howells) issued a statement calling on the Iranian Government to immediately release Mr. Ossanlou and Mr. Salehi, and urged Iran to

“respect fully the right to form or join trade unions, in accordance with its commitments as a member of the International Labour Organisation and the international human rights conventions it has ratified”.