Caroline Risacher

Caroline Risacher (Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran- ADAPP): Prior to her fellowship, Caroline worked as an International Coordinator at the University of Strasbourg; volunteered in La Paz, Bolivia, for the Bolivian Express magazine; worked for One More Option, a NGO based in France and Ecuador that helps disadvantaged children; and interned at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. Caroline graduated from the University of Strasbourg in France with a Masters in International Relations and European Affairs and a Masters in Human Rights Law with a specialization in Minority Rights.



2 Days Before Leaving

30 May

Here we go!

I’m finally on my way to spend the summer with ADAPP (The Association for the Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran). I’ll be working for Fakhteh Zamani at ADAPP in Vancouver. I haven’t met her in person yet but from the echos I hear and the brief exchanges on skype/facebook we had, I can tell that working with her will be an extremely rich and fulfilling experience.

ADAPP protects the rights of political prisoners in Iran, especially those from Azerbaijan, the largest minority in Iran. The rights of the minorities are blatantly violated as there is a very strong discrimination against them. Their mission is to promote cultural and linguistic rights for Iran’s Azerbaijani community and ensure the safety of activists who are imprisoned. One example – and the first that comes to my mind – that shows the extent of the situation is the use of the word “cockroach” in the press to refer to them and that reminds painfully the crimes and horrors of the past. I will develop further in the coming posts their situation in Iran and the sort of discrimination they suffer with much more details. This is just a small introduction to a topic that deserves much more attention.

 

map_of_iran

 

Preparing for my arrival at ADAPP, Faktheh gave me the opportunity to assist – via skype – at the interviews of these people that were arrested, persecuted, tortured or whose family member was. These interviews, for the Iran Special Rapporteur, were unbelievably sordid and seemed to come from a dark past of humanity; Confessions obtained under torture, random shootings, prosecutions without evidence… Those are a daily reality for them. People would get arrested just for sitting next to political demonstrators and treated then like criminals, monsters… The way the judiciary system works seems completely arbitrary and it is long way until the basic rules of a fair trial are respected. Still, I hope that I can be of help in any way that I can. I will be talking about it and raising awareness on the matter.

With this blog, I will document my experience, inform what is happening in Iran and how to help. Awareness is essential and the first step against violations. All I’m hoping is to be able to provide you with some useful information on this cause, to give a glimpse of what is going on over there and send out there the tools to make ADAPP more efficient.

To know more about the work of ADAPP, please check out this video :

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nTKWT_KK-o

This is my first blog, so I welcome any comments, ideas or critics. I’m thrilled to be starting this journey, even if I can’t deny that I’m nervous but it will be a learning experience for me and for those who read me.

Cheers!

Posted By Caroline Risacher

Posted May 30th, 2012

241 Comments

  • iain

    June 10, 2012

     

    Looking forward to this blog, Caroline. At a time when the world is focused on Iran’s nuclear program, it’s important to remember that Iranian minorities are under terrible pressure. The Azerbaijanis have few friends except for ADAPP – and as past AP Fellows with ADAPP have noted, even Iran’s pro-democracy leaders have been on the wrong side of this in the past.

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