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Iran shuts office of human rights organization

Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, center, said she intends to reopen the Center for Protecting Human Rights.

Associated Press

Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, center, said she intends to reopen the Center for Protecting Human Rights.

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian authorities closed the office of the country's main human rights organization, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, hours before a ceremony was to take place commemorating the 60th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights on Sunday.

According to members of the organization, which has been active since 2000, the police had been told beforehand of the meeting, at which political activists were scheduled to speak.

"The general human rights activities of this nongovernmental organization are the reason for this illegal reaction," the center's leadership said in a statement. Center officials speculated that the closure was in part a response to a United Nations resolution last Thursday that expressed "deep concern" about the human rights situation in Iran.

Iran has been protesting for months against the resolution, which was first put forward by Canada. In October, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a special human rights report that called upon Iran to address concerns such as "amputations and corporal punishment."

Ebadi's organization assisted the U.N. in compiling the report.

An interior ministry commission, which gives permits for political organizations, said the center was carrying out illegal activities such as publishing statements, writing letters to international organizations and holding press conferences.

Ebadi called the closure of her organization's office "illegal" and "unacceptable." She vowed to reopen the center.

Iran shuts office of human rights organization 12/21/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 1:16pm]

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