Over the past few months, amidst the Coronavirus health crisis, the people of Iran have been making their concerns and grievances with the corrupt Iranian regime known. There were hundreds of protests during the month of July, even more in August, and September continues in the same way.
On Wednesday 9th September, employees of the Ahvaz Chamran State University in the south-western part of the country gathered in front of their workplace to protest against a number of problems they are faced with, including the increase in their working hours and the loss of job benefits.
On the same day, workers at the Abadan Water and Sewerage Department rallied in front of their workplace. They have not received payment of their salaries and their insurance premiums for some time. Approximately 60 employees are still waiting for their salaries which have had a tremendous impact on them and their families, especially at a time when health insurance and hospital treatment are needed more than ever.
Many people in Iran are on very low wages and lots of people live under the poverty line. Even one month of a delay in salaries has an extremely detrimental effect on these low-paid workers, so several months of unpaid wages is unimaginable.
At the Abadan Water and Sewerage Department, many of the workers already face great uncertainly with regards to their jobs – of the 250 workers in one department, only 50 of them are official workers; the rest of them are contract workers.
Prisoners have also been making their voices heard across the country. Since the beginning of the Coronavirus health crisis, the prisoners in the country have been left extremely vulnerable.
In the female ward of the Prison of Sepidar in Ahvaz in south-western Iran, prisoners are suffering very badly because of the extremely high summer temperatures. They have been denied the most basic of amenities such as electricity and water. Of course, this is very unpleasant for most of the prisoners, but it is particularly dangerous for the weak, the sick, and the elderly.
Respiratory problems are also becoming more prevalent in this part of the prison because of a lack of air circulation and ventilation.
The prisoners in this ward have already spoken out about the dire conditions that they have to endure. The ward was inspected by a prosecutor not that long ago, but unsurprisingly no action has been taken.
On top of this, the prisoners are rarely allowed to make phone calls to their loved ones and they are living with the threat of COVID-19 every day. One of the prisoners was suspected to have the virus. Although she went to an outside hospital, she was sent back to the main ward without being placed into quarantine first.
During the month of May, at least 50 of the prisoners had contracted the virus, and their requests to be granted furlough was denied.
The human rights situation is degrading and the people are refusing to be silent.