Dr Shirin Ebadi. Photo: Wikipedia
The Iranian lawyer, human right promoter and Nobel peace price winner Dr Shirin Ebadi visited Stockholm University today.
Aula Magna at the university campus was crowded of people, many of them people with roots in Iran, when Dr Ebadi entered the hall to standing ovations from the audience. She first held a one hour speech in Persian, translated into English by an interpreter, followed by a one hour session with questions. (Unfortunately, due to technical problems, we have no pictures from the speech).
Ebadi started by talking about the general situation for human rights in Iran. The picture she gave was, not surprisingly, fairly dark and she said she had seen no improvements during the last twenty years. There are also discrimination on the base of ethnicity, religion and sexual preference. She said however that the ‘Green movement’ which demonstrated on the streets last year after the presidential election still exists.
"Nokia and Ericsson help the regime"
Dr. Ebadi claimed that Nokia and now also Ericsson is selling software to the Iranian regime which makes it possible for them to monitor text messages and other tele communication. She urged people in Sweden to contact Ericsson and ask them how they can participate in this kind of business.
Shirin Ebadi is against military intervention or economical sanctions against Iran since it mostly harms the people. Instead she advocates political sanctions against individuals in the regime, for example to not give them visa.
- We do not expect anything from the west. As long as they do not help the regime, we will do the rest.
She said that one thing foreigners can do is to spread information domestically, for example e-mailing parliamentarians and explaining the situation in Iran.
On several occasions, when finishing her statements, Dr Ebadi got applauses from the part of the audience who understood Persian. Unfortunately, sitting far back in the hall, the applauses sometimes made it impossible to hear the interpreter who started right after Dr Ebadi finished talking. This is of course a minor problems but it might have made me miss some important statements from her.
Footnote: Shirin Ebadi was born in Iran in 1947. She worked as a judge until the 1979 Islamic revolution when she was forced to leave her job. After that she worked with human rights issues and defended political prisoners in court. In 2003 she received the Nobel peace price for her work. She has spent large parts of the prize money on promoting human rights in Iran, and she also went back there to work from within the country after 2003.