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Wednesday 21 December 2011

Iranian student Activists are banned from pursuing higher education from Islamic regime
The Advocacy Council for the Right to Education’s Declaration on *Starred Students
For the sixth consecutive year, (Iranian authorities)have barred students from pursuing higher education .

[h2 Statement by the ACRE, originally published in June 2011
The Advocacy Council for the Right to Education (ACRE) has stated that the [star system], the practice of banning student activists of the right to education, has been [predominant] in Iran for the past six years. The ACRE has issued a declaration against the practice of banning students and imprisoning them, stating that the process violates all “domestic and international laws”. The following is the full text of the ACRE declaration: [In the translation, some parts containing legal details have been omitted-Arash Azizi)
For the sixth consecutive year, since Mahmood Ahmadinejad has been in office, numerous student activists, who completed their Master’s entrance examination, were barred from pursuing their education .
The ACRE declares that a number of student activists from various universities across Iran, namely in Tehran, were illegally barred from receiving this year’s Master’s examination results. In the days leading to the announcement of the Master’s examination results, numerous students were summoned, threatened, and intimidated by Iranian security authorities. These students were told that if they took any follow-up actions, they would be dealt with harshly. Barred or “starred” students were also summoned prior to the examination date. The students were summoned to the admission’s office of the National Assessment organization to fill out forms about their personal beliefs and history in political activities. They were interrogated by Iranian security forces directly in the university examination building. Some student activists who did receive their test scores, said their results were tampered with to be made much lower than what was stated in their mid-term report cards .
The ACRE is suspicious about the reliability of the National Assessment, and believes this organization has lost its most important capital: public trust. The National Assessment organization has denied education to students who received exemplary test results (in 2009), refused to issue report cards to numerous students (in the years 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011), and tampered with the examination results of other student activists (2011) .
The ACRE strongly condemns the practice of banning students and depriving them from their basic right to education. The ACRE demands an end to this inhumane and illegal practice. The ACRE, basing itself on the domestic laws of Iran and international laws, regards the actions of the [National Assessment] to be criminal, and demands trial for the perpetrators of this criminal act .
A Brief History of banning students in the 6 years of Ahmadinejad’s administration :
In 2006, student activists, who read the news of their acceptance in the National Assessment organization’s newsletter and attempted to register for higher education, noticed a number of stars on their registration forms. Three stars meant that the student was barred from their studies .
In 2007 and 2008, when the process for announcing the results of the Master’s examination became accessible online, student activists who received exemplary results on their exam were denied their mid-term report card and barred from registration for their Master’s. However, in June 2009, on the day that the exam results were announced, and only a few days before the Iranian Presidential election, the Iranian authorities finally allowed these barred students to receive their mid-term report cards and pursue registration for their Master’s. Then, in August 2009, when these students went online to receive their final exam results, they noticed they had been labelled “academically weak”. Final report cards were not issued to these students, and there is no record of their registration on the National Assessment’s official website .
When these starred students went to meet officials in person, they were told verbally that they had been barred from pursuing their education. In 2010 and 2011, more barred students went through the same process of education deprivation .
From 2006 to 2011, dozens of student activists, who received exemplary results on their Master’s exam, have been barred from registering for their Master’s or pursuing other forms of education .
:*Starred Students in Prison
Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad entered office, numerous student activists who were taking part in the Master’s examination were barred from their studies. In the 2009 Iranian Presidential debates, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi protested against the banning of students. Even though barred students had gathered in front of the TV set where the debate was taking place, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still denied the [existence of starred students] under his administration .
To prove their existence and expose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s lies, starred students gathered several times in front of the Ministry of Advanced Education, the state television and radio building, the University of Tehran, and the National Assessment building. Following the Iranian Presidential election, dozens of barred students were arrested and issued long prison sentences .
Zia Nabavi, Majid Dori, Peyman Aref, Mahdieh Golroo, Zahra Tohidi, Shiva Nazar Ahari, Alireza Khoshbakht, Somayeh Rahidi, Navid Khanjani, Ali Qolizadeh, Ashkan Zahabian, Emad Bahavar, Esmaeil Salmanpoor, Majid Tavakoli, Hojjat Arabi and many other barred students were arrested in the days and months following the election. Some of these students are still imprisoned .
The ACRE demands freedom for all imprisoned students, namely Zia Nabavi, Majid Dorri, and Mahdieh Golroo, and an end to the harassment of Baha’i students across the country .
Banning students from education is an apartheid crime and against the Constitution of the Islamic Republic and international obligations of the Iranian state. The Iranian constitution regards the right to education as an elementary right “for all the Nation”, and regards the realization of this elementary right as a responsibility for the state. Also, the Iranian government, based on numerous international obligations, needs to provide education for all Iranians without any discrimination based on beliefs surrounding politics, religion, sexuality, etc .
Banning students from their right to education is an obvious infringement of a number of articles of the Islamic Republic’s Constitution, like Articles 3 (Clauses 3, 9 and 14), 19, 20, 22, 30, 36, 37, and especially Article 23, which explicitly says: “The investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief" .
Banning students takes place in Iran even though – in addition to Clause 3 of Article 3 and Article 30 of the Constitution, which states that promoting Higher Education and expanding Free Higher Education for all the Nation is the government’s obligation- there are Articles 3 (Clauses 9 and 14), 20, 22, 30, 36 and 37- which state that the government must provide fair means to all parts of the Nation, regardless of their religion and political beliefs, and without discrimination, grant them all humane, political, social and cultural rights .
Article 9 of the Constitution also explicitly states: “In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the freedom, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of the country are inseparable from one another, and their preservation is the duty of the government and all individual citizens…Similarly, no authority has the right to abrogate legitimate freedoms -not even by enacting laws and regulations for that purpose- under the pretext of preserving the independence and territorial integrity of the country" .
Articles 19 and 20 state: “All people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege. All citizens of the country, both men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law and enjoy all human, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in conformity with Islamic criteria" .
Legally speaking, “Nation” is a universal word and can’t have any exceptions. It includes all people of Iran, regardless of their colour of skin, race, language, religion and belief .
It is thus clear that the right to education and especially Higher Education in universities is not only a legitimate freedom but, based on Clause 3 of Article 9 and Article 30 of the Constitution, is part of the inalienable humane, political, social and cultural rights of all people of Iran. It is part of the government’s obligation to the “Nation" .
Depriving students from their education based on discrimination violates the Iranian government’s international obligations .
The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran joined the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA) in 1984, and based on the act that ratified it (in the Parliament, 24 January 1985), it is obligated to this convention. Based on Article 2 of the ICSPCA: “Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work, the right to form recognized trade unions, the right to education, the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association" .
Based on its Article 5: “Persons charged with the acts enumerated in article II of the present Convention may be tried by a competent tribunal of any State Party to the Convention which may acquire jurisdiction over the person of the accused or by an international penal tribunal having jurisdiction with respect to those States Parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction" .
The ACRE asks the Iranian authorities to respect the Constitution and their own international obligations, and stop the denial of the students’ right to education. We also ask for the release of imprisoned students whose only crime is demanding their elementary right to education. They should be granted this right .
EDITOR’S NOTES
*Starred Students: The Ministry of Advanced Education in Iran uses a “star” system to crack down on student activists. Through this approach, the students considered to have “disciplinary” issues are assigned stars, and are subsequently barred from university. Iranian officials, however, deny the existence of starred students, even though the students have been vocal about their situation .
Translated by Arash Azizi,
Sourse : Persian2English .com]

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