As world leaders gather for the United Nations’ general assembly, a dozen massive murals all over New York City are trying to send a big message to the Iranian government about human rights and persecution of religious minorities.
The murals are intended to call attention to the plight of journalists imprisoned by the government in Iran and religious minorities such as the Baha’is, who report persecution. Activists hope to catch the eye of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is expected to address the United Nations on Sept. 28.
“We want to create a discourse in the city so when world leaders, different delegates come to New York in September, at least some of them will talk about the situation of the Baha’is in Iran, some of them will talk about the journalists in Iran,” journalist Maziar Bahari told The Associated Press.
The project is inspired by Bahari’s #NotACrime campaign, which highlights the injustices that he and others faced in Iran. After joking about being a spy on a segment of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, the former Newsweek reporter was arrested in Tehran in 2009 and spent 118 days in prison before being released.
Some of the famous international artists involved in the project are American POPaganda artist Ron English, Iranian American painter Nicky Nodjoumi, and Argentine artist Marina Zumi.