On Saturday May 30, 2009 a forum on the right to education convened as a fourth meeting of its kind nationwide. The Committee on the Right to Education, which is a branch of the Human Rights Activists in Iran Association, sponsored this forum in which many human rights activists and students deprived of the right to education were in attendance.
Mr. Abolfazl Abedini, the Association’s public relations officer, opened the meeting by recounting the activities and goals of his organization especially on the subject f the right to education. He also expressed gratification that this form was held in Kermanshah, a region that has contributed many dedicated activists to society.
After the opening remarks, Mr. Hesam Missaghi spoke on behalf of the Committee on the Right to Education. He expressed that the man goals of his committee are reversing the trend of denial of the right to education and returning the disenfranchised students to schools and universities. Mr. Missaghi, who himself has been denied his right to education, continued that the committee has focused on the two approaches of the law and its practice. The former consists of the international covenants and human rights. The committee’s goal in this regard is to educate the Iranian public by raising awareness, providing legal support, developing capacity, and providing education. Mr. Missaghi concluded his remarks by reiterating the goals of unity and cohesiveness of its members and followers within the framework of the rule of law.
Next, Mr. Peyman Ghiami, the coordinator for the Committee on the Right to Education in Kermanshah, presented his speech. He expressed gratitude that the forum was held in Kermanshah and stated that he was hopeful that such forums will provide a bridge to connect his province’s civil activists with the Human Rights Activists in Iran Association.
Next speaker was Mr. Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi, a student activist and a senior member of Kurdistan’s Human Rights Organization, who recited a statement on behalf of his organization. His statement condemned the denial of education to the Bahá’í community and others. The full text of his statement has been made available on the Association’s website.
After this statement, Ms. Mona Rafii, a student expelled from Razi University, presented her speech. She stated that three months after enrolling as a student, she received word that she may no longer continue her education. The multiple attempts to restore her status as a student have been fruitless. The authorities have stated that her belief in the Bahá’í faith is the reason for her dismissal.
Following Ms. Rafii, Mr. Farzad Pourmoradi, a journalist and a human rights activist from Kermanshah, addressed the audience. He expressed his profound regret that such denial of education, which is in stark contrast to the fundamental principles human rights, is ongoing. This civil activist, who himself has had a significant history of confrontation with the authorities as a student, concluded his speech by expressing appreciation that such forums are being held and noting that he is prepared to support the Committee on the Right to Education.
The last speaker was Dr. Eslami, who was one of the first victims of denial of the right to education. He recounted his dismissal from the doctorate program from Tehran University in the first few years of the Islamic Republic. He also shared a brief history of the denial of education to the Bahá’í community from the beginning of the Islamic Revolution to the present time.