Reports

Forgotten Refugees of the Balkan Route

Trieste’s Piazza della Libertà and the nearby Silos warehouses have become a hub for migrants, mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, fleeing violence and seeking asylum. They endure harsh living conditions, with inadequate shelter, facing winter cold and illness. Volunteers provide some aid, while local organizations struggle to house the 420 asylum seekers awaiting placement in the overburdened system. Meanwhile, Italy’s government tries to tighten borders and offshore asylum processing to Albania, but faces legal challenges.

Voices Unheard: Afghan Women’s Fight Against Marginalization

The UN meeting on Afghanistan in Doha coincides with protests by Afghan women against Taliban rule. Parwana Ibrahim Khail, a known journalist and women’s rights activist, shared her experiences of imprisonment and torture under the Taliban, including a stoning sentence for alleged apostasy. Despite international outcry and support for these women, the Taliban continue to enforce repressive measures, including the educational ban on girls and closure of women-oriented businesses, violating human rights. The latest WPS index ranked Afghan women’s condition as the worst globally. Activists criticize the UN for not inviting Taliban opposition to the meeting, viewing it as legitimizing the regime and complicit in gender apartheid. They demand that international communities hold the Taliban accountable for human rights violations rather than negotiate, expecting actions beyond mere statements.

Disqualification Mechanism in Iran Elections

Iran is set to hold its twelfth parliamentary elections and sixth Assembly of Experts elections on March 1, 2024. With prevalent disqualifications of candidates, 7 provinces face uncontested seats in the Assembly of Experts, indicating a lack of genuine competition, a trend mirroring Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s preference for compliant candidates. It’s called an election, but in reality, it’s not an election. Not only do the vast majority of the people not have the right to participate as candidates, but multiple political parties are illegal, opponents of the Islamic government are not allowed to operate, even opposition newspapers are being shut down among themselves.

Untold Story of Binke:
The 1979 Resistance of Sanandaj’s City Council

In a bold and unapologetic exploration, Zaniar Omrani’s documentary “Binke” (The Base) tears into the fabric of Sanandaj’s contemporary political landscape. Omrani doesn’t just depict history; he thrusts viewers into the heart of the furnace. From the explosive liberation of political prisoners in 1979 to the tumultuous birth of Rojhelat’s self-governance, “Binke” refuses to look away. It confronts the formidable establishment of city councils and captures the raw defiance of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s assault on Kurdistan. And let’s not overlook Jina’s fiery 2022 revolt—a fierce battle cry to reclaim the very essence of public sovereignty. This isn’t just a documentary—it’s a political cauldron of untold stories, simmering with the relentless struggle for autonomy and justice.

Hidden Histories:
Insights into Bahman Uprising

On February 11, 1979, Tehran saw an organized, well-armed uprising against state forces, leading to the fall of the Shah’s regime. Guerrilla groups, alongside a determined public, captured key locations including police stations, military barracks, and the radio-television center. Despite resistance, the insurgents secured arms, released prisoners, and occupied government buildings, culminating in the fall of notable centers of oppression. The revolution paralleled none of recent protests, underlining the significant, yet fleeting, victory for political freedoms later thwarted by the Islamic government’s repressive actions post-June 20, 1981.

Iran: A Movement for Life Against Execution

Recent reports from Iran show a troubling increase in executions, with political dissidents like Worishe Moradi and Shahab Nad-Ali charged with “Baghy,” equating to rebellion. January 2024 saw 86 executions, outpacing new death sentences. This reflects an apparent policy shift or “cleansing” effort, with the death penalty used to suppress opposition and violate international human rights standards. Despite international condemnation, such as Mohammad Qobadloo’s case, the executions continue unabated, highlighting a disregard for basic human rights and international pleas.

Iran: The Colonial Legacy of Women’s Exploitation

Iran’s Deputy Minister of Industry announced the closure of 6,900 industrial units, exacerbating unemployment and poverty, with women hit hardest. Official data shows women’s employment decreasing, with informal jobs, accounting for 70% of employment, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and without legal or social protections. The patriarchal and misogynistic culture systematically oppresses women, marginalizing them from decision-making and pushing them into unpaid domestic labor. Gender inequality is institutionalized in laws and governance, leading Iran to rank 143 in the 2023 global gender gap report.

Iran: Ahvaz Steel Workers Against Privatization

Recently, steel workers in Ahvaz, Iran, intensified their protests over fair compensation, job classification, and job security, clashing with National Steel Factory management. The conflict arose after a corrupt privatization scheme, inequitable salary practices, and management’s refusal to uphold agreements. Workers have initiated strikes following failed negotiations and are challenging the management’s deceptive tactics and the government’s privatization efforts. They demand the reinstatement of a labor leader, salary adjustments in line with industry standards, and the cessation of retaliatory actions by employers.

Women’s Activism in the Heart of Balochistan

The history of Balochistan is deeply intertwined with the experiences of its women, whose stories of resistance and resilience offer valuable insights into the region’s cultural, social, and political landscape. Baloch women have been pivotal in movements against oppression, mitigating human rights abuses, and challenging authoritarian regimes, particularly in the Zhina movement and protests for the disappeared. Despite grappling with gender, religious, national, and class challenges, their increasing visibility in the political field is shifting Balochistan towards progressive, secular change. The article illustrates their vital role within the anti-colonial and liberation movements, breaking the silence on women’s issues traditionally ignored by mainstream discourse and pushing for greater collective action and equality.

Mohammed Ghobadlou; Story of a State Murder

24-year-old Mohammed Ghobadlou was executed in Iran for alleged involvement in protests after Mahsa/Jina Amini’s death. He faced charges of murder and Moharebeh, driving into police and causing death and injuries. His trial lacked proper legal representation, and his execution, the ninth linked to protests, followed dubious judicial processes, sparking international concern and domestic strikes and protests. The government’s crackdown, including capital punishment, was criticized for lack of transparency and due process. Human rights organizations call for an end to executions, as they mostly target the impoverished, oppressed, or dissenting individuals, and equate state killings to murder.

Greece: The Uncertain Future of the Helios Program

The HELIOS refugee integration project in Greece, managed by the International Organization for Migration and the Greek Ministry, was abruptly halted due to funding shortfalls since early 2024, leaving many refugees vulnerable to homelessness. The suspension hinders access to housing support, language courses, and employment resources. Funding inconsistencies and bureaucratic hurdles have plagued the program, affecting not only refugees but also employees, with many dismissed without compensation or clarity on future job security. Despite its intention to aid recognized refugees, HELIOS has struggled with mismanagement and financial problems, prompting appeals for a comprehensive local housing strategy to address the ongoing crisis.

Behind the Bravado:
The Human Costs of Mitsotakis’ Falsehoods

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis boasted about excelling in migration management at a recent conference, but crucial issues were conveniently omitted. Violations of international laws and human rights, pushbacks of thousands of refugees, and a tragic shipwreck involving over 650 lives paint a different picture. European Commission’s silence and financial support contribute to these atrocities. The EU’s border closures and focus on security over rights and welfare further exacerbate the crisis. Activist repression and the drastic spike in arrivals raise concerns about Greece’s migration policies. These are not just numbers, but human lives at stake, revealing a deeply flawed and inhumane system.

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