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Normandy World Forum for Peace: Nearly 800 Students visited us!

On September 28th and 29th, ECPM participated for the 3rd time in the Normandy World Forum for Peace, which was dedicated this year to "Resistance! The Peace of the People." ECPM was among the NGOs in the Village of Peace Activists and offered activities related to universal abolition of the death penalty and human rights to young people and the general public during these two days. Our "Smash the Death Penalty" game, thematic quizzes, and our globe displaying abolitionist, moratorium, and retentionist countries allowed us to engage with over 600 middle and high school students from Normandy!

In a persisting context of human rights violations in Iran, Nicolas Perron, Director of Programs at ECPM, moderated a workshop on the death penalty as a tool of political repression in Iran. Shole Pakravan, an Iranian activist and mother of Reyhaneh Jabbari, who was sentenced to death and executed for the murder of her alleged rapist, and Taïmoor Aliassi, a specialist in international law and issues related to minorities in Iran, were invited to speak about the use of the death penalty in the country with the highest number of executions per capita each year.

The death sentences and executions that have occurred since the uprising that began on September 16, 2022, in response to the death in detention of Jina Mahsa Amini, who was violently arrested a few days earlier by the morality police for alleged violation of Iran’s mandatory veiling law, are a terrifying testament. Iran condemns to death in an attempt to suppress resistance. Many women, central figures in this uprising of the Iranian population, are now being sentenced and executed for attempting to resist the aggressions they face. Last year, at least 582 people were executed. As of September 2023, this number has already risen to 521. The government is targeting young people, women, and ethnic and religious minorities, including Kurds and Baluchis. This workshop was attended by 140 young participants.

Portraits of the Witnesses

Taïmoor Aliassi

Taïmoor Aliassi, an Iranian Kurdish exile and now a representative of the Kurdistan Human Rights Association, presented the students with a short video outlining the atrocities committed by the Iranian regime since the death in detention of Jina Mahsa Amini. He also explained that the loss of legitimacy by the government dates back to the fraudulent elections in 2009. To this day, 80% of Iranians live below the poverty line, the needs of the youth are not only ignored but suppressed by the government, the government supports Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, minors are executed, and some executions are made public (in violation of international human rights law that prohibits these practices)… In Iran, all human rights are violated, and the government enforces its rule through force and terror.

Sur le terrain
March 2023
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Shole Pakravan

Shole Pakravan lost her daughter, Reyhaneh, in 2017 after seven years of fierce struggle against the regime that sentenced her to death. Accused of killing a high-ranking member of the Islamic Guard who was attempting to rape her, Reyhaneh Jabbari was executed when all appeals were exhausted. Today, Shole recounts how her daughter’s strength remains rooted in her and remembers her determination not to concede anything to the regime: she had notably refused to write an apology letter to the family of her attacker, which could have saved her. Shole passes on this strength to the youth she meets worldwide, encouraging them to join the fight for the abolition of the death penalty, even with small actions: “out of tiny acorns mighty oaks grow”, she insists, “just like violence, peace spreads beyond borders.”

March 2023
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