Iranian communities in Britain celebrate International Women’s Day

Updated 10 March 2019
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Iranian communities in Britain celebrate International Women’s Day

LONDON: Hundreds took part in a rally on Saturday in support of Iranian women, who are at the forefront of the ongoing popular protests and strikes against the regime across the country. 
Members of the Anglo-Iranian Communities and supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) organized a rally outside Number 10 Downing Street in London to mark International Women’s Day. 
Highlighting the decisive role of women in Iran protests, they called on the UK government to support the democratic aspiration of the Iranian people.
Representatives of different Anglo-Iranian associations addressed the rally and highlighted the significant role that women have played in Iran’s freedom movement for more than 100 years. 
Speakers condemned the regime’s systematic suppression and discrimination against women in Iran that has reduced women and girls to second class citizens. 
Speakers also called on the UK government to proscribe the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the regime’s Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) in their entirety as terrorist organizations “because they are the main repressive forces behind the intensified domestic repression and recent surge in terrorist plots and espionage against Iranian dissidents, activists and NCRI, outside Iran,” the NCRI said.
“I support the cause of human rights and democracy in Iran. The appalling situation of women in Iran is why we need reforms and change. So I am here to support your just demands for justice, democracy and freedom,” said Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet and former secretary of state for Northern Ireland. 
“We stand here today on International Women’s Day to honor Iran’s strong, committed, courageous women in Iran. To the brave women of Iran, who have to endure revolutionary guards harassment, we support you and stand beside you in the struggle for human rights, equality and justice. We salute you, we are with you,” Dr. Jocelynne Scutt, former judge, jurist and university professor at Buckingham university. 
Meanwhile, Roger Lyons, former president of TUC said: “We strongly support the protests by many sectors of the Iranian society. I am proud that TUC has supported the demands of Iranian workers. I am here to fully support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people, especially women, led by the NCRI and its president-elect Maraym Rajavi.” 
In February alone, more than 248 protests in 71 cities and towns were reported from Iran, which is an average of nine protests per day. Teachers, including many women, took part in 13 rallies in February and a nationwide sit-in strike in at least 31 cities in March. 
The regime has responded by labelling defense of women’s rights a crime and considers women’s rights activists as “enemies of the state”. “87 women have been executed since the so-called“moderate” President Hassan Rouhani took over the presidency in Iran,” the NCRI said.
In December 2018, the NCRI’s Women’s Committee revealed that “only last year, nearly one thousand women were arrested and detained in prisons for their involvement in anti-government protests”.
Members of various professions have staged numerous nationwide strikes across the country, including workers, teachers, nurses, students, farmers, retirees, defrauded investors, and families of prisoners.
The Islamic Republic is suffering form extreme poverty, water shortages, environmental decimation, a severe health crisis, 40% inflation, 50% deficit and 40% unemployment.
“So long as the clerical regime is in power, none of these ills will be resolved. The ruling (regime) will become ever more dependent on their devastating policies, namely the suppression of Iranian society, warmongering and destructive meddling in the region, money laundering, terrorism in Europe and the United States, and plundering the assets of the people of Iran,” said NCRI president-elect Rajavi.
Speaking via video link on Friday during an opposition rally in Washington, Rajavi said the international community is “duty-bound to respect the struggle of the Iranian people to overthrow the clerical regime. This is essential for global peace and security.
“It is time for the State Department to designate the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and the Ministry of Intelligence as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO). Doing so would be a positive message to the Iranian people and a decisive message against the clerical regime,” she added.
The NCRI said in a further assault on human rights in the country, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Ebrahim Raisi as the head of the regime’s judiciary. 
The NCRI said Raisi is one of the regime’s officials responsible for the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, including pregnant women and girls as young as 15-year-old.
“I join you in condemning the appointment of Raisi and urging the UK government to take the lead and to work with allies at the UN to ask relevant bodies to order an investigation and bring the regime’s officials like Raisi to justice for crimes against humanity,” said Malcolm Fowler, senior solicitor and former member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales.


Death toll from Mozambique, Zimbabwe floods exceeds 300 as UN boosts aid

A picture taken on March 18, 2019, shows a man taking pictures of a large crack in the ground as a Zimbabwean soldier helps guide pedestrians across a bridge on the Risitu River during search and rescue operations in the wake of devastating floods and mudslides caused when Cyclone Idai struck Zimbabwe in Chimanimani, Manicaland Province. (AFP)
Updated 43 min 14 sec ago
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Death toll from Mozambique, Zimbabwe floods exceeds 300 as UN boosts aid

  • Worst hit was Chimanimani in Manicaland, an eastern province which borders Mozambique

BEIRA, Mozambique: The death toll from a cyclone that smashed into Mozambique and Zimbabwe rose to more than 300 on Tuesday as rescuers raced against the clock to help survivors and the UN led the charge to provide aid.
“We already have more than 200 dead, and nearly 350,000 people are at risk,” Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi announced, while the government in Zimbabwe said around 100 people had died but the toll could be triple that figure.
The UN, meanwhile, said that one of the worst storms to hit southern Africa in decades had also unleashed a humanitarian crisis in Malawi, affecting nearly a million people and forcing more than 80,000 from their homes.
Four days after Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall, emergency teams in central Mozambique fanned out in boats and helicopters, seeking to pluck survivors from roofs and treetops in an inland sea of floodwater, sometimes in the dead of night.
Air force personnel from Mozambique and South Africa were drafted in to fly rescue missions, while an NGO called Rescue South Africa said it had picked up 34 people since Friday night, using three helicopters.
“It is the only way to access the people that are stranded,” Rescue SA’s Abrie Senekal told AFP, saying the NGO was trying to hire more helicopters.

Ian Scher, who heads Rescue SA, said the helicopter teams were having to make difficult decisions.
“Sometimes we can only save two out of five, sometimes we drop food and go to someone else who’s in bigger danger,” he said.
“We just save what we can save and the others will perish.”
In Nhamatanda, some 60 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Beira, 27-year-old Jose Batio and his wife and children survived by climbing onto a roof.
But a lot of their neighbors “were swept by the water,” he said.
“Water came like a tsunami and destroyed most things. We were prisoners on the roof,” he told AFP after they were rescued by boat.
The city of Beira, Mozambique’s second largest city and a major port, was immediately cut off after the storm. According to the Red Cross, the cyclone damaged or destroyed 90 percent of the city of half a million people.
President Nyusi, speaking on Tuesday after attending a cabinet meeting in the ravaged city, said the confirmed death toll stood at 202 and nearly 350,000 were “at risk.”
The government declared a national emergency and ordered three days of national mourning, he said.
“We are in an extremely difficult situation,” Nyusi said, warning of high tides and waves of around eight meters (26 feet) in the coming days.
On Monday, Nyusi had said he feared more than 1,000 had died and more than 100,000 people were in danger.

The storm also lashed eastern Zimbabwe, leaving around 100 dead, a toll that could be as much as 300, local government minister July Moyo said after a cabinet briefing.
“I understand there are bodies which are floating, some have floated all the way to Mozambique,” he said.
“The total number, we were told they could be 100, some are saying there could be 300. But we cannot confirm this situation,” he said.
At least 217 others are missing and 44 stranded, officials said.
Worst hit was Chimanimani in Manicaland, an eastern province which borders Mozambique.
Families started burying their dead in damp graves on Monday, as injured survivors filled up the hospitals, an AFP correspondent said.
Military helicopters were airlifting people to Mutare, the largest city near Chimanimani.
The storm swept away homes and bridges, devastating huge areas in what Defense Minister Perrance Shiri said “resembles the aftermath of a full-scale war.”
Some roads were swallowed by massive sinkholes, while bridges were ripped to pieces by flash floods.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it was mobilizing aid for some 600,000 people, saying the world did not yet appreciate the scale of the “massive disaster.”
So far, it has dispatched more than five tons of emergency provisions to the affected areas.
“WFP aims to support 500,000 to 600,000 people in the coming weeks,” spokesman Herve Verhoosel told reporters in Geneva.
“I don’t think that the world (has) realized yet the scale of the problem,” he said.
In Malawi, 920,000 people have been affected by the cyclone and 82,000 people have been displaced, the UN said.
“OCHA (the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) has deployed resources to support assessments and information management, and UNICEF is deploying additional supplies to affected areas including tents, water and sanitation supplies and learning materials to affected children,” it said.