Press release

More than 480 Global Voices Call on International Community to Strengthen Support for Protesters in Iran 

Nobel Prize laureates, former heads of state, retired military officers, business leaders, actors, authors, and human rights defenders forced into exile are among the more than 480 luminaries and global voices in civil society, media, and government who issued a joint statement today calling for the international community to take steps to increase and strengthen support for protesters in Iran. 

“This pledge of support for the people of Iran and their fight to live freely shows the remarkable unity of a broad coalition from around the world, across the political spectrum, and from all segments of society,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “The world stands with the Iranian people as they continue to risk their lives and well-being for their freedom.” 

The joint statement released by Freedom House, along with co-sponsors including the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University; Forum 2000; PEN America; Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights; Women’s Learning Partnership; the World Liberty Congress; and World Movement for Democracy says that protesters have shown “breathtaking courage” at great personal risk, and that they “want theocracy and dictatorship replaced by freedom and democracy.”  

It notes that “the end of the Islamic Republic’s system of misogyny would constitute a global landmark in the long march toward a world in which women are treated equally,” and that “the triumph of freedom in Iran could renew the global tide of democratization that was so strong in the latter 20th century but has ebbed in the face of authoritarian counterattack.”  

The statement was signed by supporters from around the world, across the political spectrum and from all segments of society, including Nobel laureates, former heads of state, and from prominent writers, actors and figures from labor, arts and business communities.  

Among the more than 480 individual statement signers are:  

  • Svetlana Alexievich, journalist and author, Nobel Prize in Literature
  • Óscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica; Nobel Peace Prize laureate 

  • Margaret Atwood, Author 

  • Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi 

  • A. Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada 

  • Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Freedom House trustee  

  • Laura Chinchilla, former president of Costa Rica 

  • Charles Joseph Clark, former Canadian Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister of Constitutional Affairs 

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, former secretary of state of the United States 

  • Shirin Ebadi, Defenders of Human Rights Center; Nobel Prize laureate 

  • Miguel Angel Rodriguez Echeverria, former President of Costa Rica 

  • Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law 

  • Leymah R. Gbowee, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 

  • Richard Gere, actor, Gere Foundation 

  • Jane Harman, Chair, Freedom House, former Member of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives 

  • Stephen J. Harper, former prime minister of Canada 

  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former president of Estonia 

  • Vladimir Kara-Murza, Russian opposition politician; author; historian; prisoner of conscience 

  • Tawakkol Karman, Human Rights Activist, Journalist, Politician, Nobel Prize Laureate 

  • Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary General  

  • Mario Vargas Llosa, novelist, journalist, former Politician, Nobel Laureate in Literature 

  • Oleksandra Medviichuk, Chairwoman, Center for Civil Liberties 

  • Iveta Radičová, former prime minister of Slovakia 

  • Maria Ressa, CEO, Rappler; Nobel Prize laureate 

  • Tom Ridge, Ridge Global, First US Secretary of Homeland Security, former Governor of Pennsylvania 

  • Molly Ringwald, actor, writer, singer 

  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia, Nobel Laureate 

  • Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, government of Belarus in exile 

  • Joseph L. Votel, US Army (Ret.), former US Central Command Commanding General, Freedom House trustee 

  • Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers 

  • Jody Williams, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 

Organizational signers of the statement include: AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees; Alliance for Rights of All Minorities (ARAM-Iran); American Purpose; Asia Democracy Network; Association Burundaise pour la Protection des Droits Humains et des Personnes Détenues (Burundian Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Persons in Detention - APRODH); Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM); Aurat Foundation; Australian Council of Trade Unions; Boat People SOS; Center for Civil Liberties, Nobel Laureate, Ukraine; Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University; Crystal Bayat Foundation; Cyrus Forum; Democracy International; Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR); Forum 2000; Freedom House; Hong Kong Democracy Council; Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom; Iran Human Rights Documentation Center; Iranian Diaspora Collective; New York Women’s Foundation; PEN America; Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights; Razom for Ukraine; Solidarity is Global; Vital Voices Global Partnership; WLP Brazil/CEPIA - Citizenship, Study, Research, Information, and Action; WLP-Kazakhstan/Women's Resource Centre; Women’s Learning Partnership; Women Political Leaders; World Liberty Congress; World Movement for Democracy. 

The statement calls on the international community to take concrete actions to support protesters, recommending that:  

  • Governments, civic associations, and individuals should speak loudly and often in support of the protesters and in condemnation of the regime’s repressive actions. Legislators and others should “adopt” individual arrestees, especially those facing execution, and spotlight their plight. 

  • Governments should take diplomatic, economic, and symbolic measures to punish the regime and bolster the protesters. All officials involved in the repression, from Supreme Leader Khamenei down to local Basij commanders, should be sanctioned. The Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) should be added to terrorism lists. 

  • High-level officials of democratic governments should receive leaders of the opposition in publicly announced meetings. 

  • Accurate, reliable, fact-based reporting via international radio, television, and social media reaching Iran should be enhanced, as should assistance to private Iranian exile broadcasting. 

  • Technical assistance, including equipment, should be given to help the demonstrators counteract censorship and surveillance and to communicate despite the regime’s disruption of internet service and blocking of websites. 

  • Labor unions, governments, and others in the international community should express solidarity with Iranian workers, should share the experiences of other labor struggles for worker rights and democracy, and should also seek ways to provide practical assistance, such as VPNs, other means of communication, and contributions to strike funds if safe and effective channels can be found. 

The full joint statement can be read here. For questions about the statement or how to support this effort, or to request an interview please contact [email protected]

Freedom House is a nonprofit, nonpartisan democracy organization that works to create a world where all are free. We inform the world about threats to freedom, mobilize global action, and support democracy’s defenders.