Declaración de la UICN | 16 Abr, 2024

IUCN welcomes release of conservationists imprisoned in Iran

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) welcomes the announcement of the release of four IUCN Member conservationists who had been imprisoned in the Islamic Republic of Iran since 2018.

The four – Niloufar Bayani, Sepideh Kashani, Taher Ghadirian, and Houman Jowkar – were part of a group from the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF), an IUCN Member organisation, detained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in January 2018, together with other conservationists. Additionally, Ghadirian and Jowkar are members of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission’s Cat Specialist Group, and Ghadirian is also a member of the SSC’s Bear Specialist Group.

Before their arrest, they were undertaking vital conservation work, including efforts to observe and track the Critically Endangered Asiatic Cheetah, which is thought only to remain in Iran.

IUCN issued statements of solidarity with the imprisoned conservationists in 2018 and again in 2019 and 2023.

In 2000, IUCN’s Members approved a resolution at the IUCN World Conservation Congress defending the right of conservationists and environmentalists to undertake their work freely. That resolution recognised that “citizen organisations have an important role in making the public more aware of questions relating to environmental protection and ecologically sustainable development issues through activities such as education, training, and research.”

IUCN Director General, Dr Grethel Aguilar, said: “The release of these women and men who have dedicated themselves to nature is excellent news. Environmental practitioners cannot be criminalised for carrying out key conservation work at this crucial time when we humans need to unite to overcome the loss of nature. IUCN continues to stand in solidarity with them and their families.”

IUCN – which is made up of 1,400 Member organisations from 160 countries – will continue speaking out to support the critical work that conservationists undertake and defending their ability to do so without fear of prosecution or persecution.