UK: education unionists in solidarity with Iranian and Argentinian colleagues

Teacher unionists Esmail Abdi and Roberto Baradel have been recognised by the UK’s National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers for their fight for the rights of teachers and quality education in Iran and Argentina respectively.

Esmail Abdi, the jailed Iran Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) leader, was awarded the International Solidarity Award by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) at its Annual Conference in Birmingham on 1 April. Having been rearrested recently, Mr Abdi could not receive in person the award in recognition of his commitment to fighting for the rights of teachers and for quality education in Iran.

An inspiration

“Esmail Abdi is an inspiration to teachers and trade unionists across the world, through his courage to stand up for trade union and human rights in the face of oppressive and harsh treatment,” NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates stressed.

This award reflected the desire of NASUWT and its members to honour Abdi’s courage and offer him hope, solidarity, and support in his struggle.

“Esmail’s courage and determination to continue to fight for quality education in Iran, despite the terrible personal cost he has had to endure, is truly humbling,” Keates said.

Abdi is leader of the ITTA’s Tehran branch and was convicted of national security offences in February 2016, after organising peaceful protests. He was given a six-year prison sentence and, although recently allowed to leave the notorious Evin Prison, he was rearrested after only 11 days and taken back to custody.

The NASUWT continues to work closely with the ITTA and other partners, including Amnesty International and Education International, to press for Abdi’s unconditional release from prison and to urge the Iranian authorities to respect human and trade union rights.

Leadership and advocacy

The NASUWT Conference also recognised the work of Roberto Baradel from the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina (CTERA) in Argentina.

“The NASUWT also places on record the recognition of teachers throughout the UK for Roberto Baradel’s leadership, advocacy, and campaigning on behalf of teachers, children, and young people and for free, quality public education,” NASUWT Deputy General Secretary Patrick Roach highlighted.

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