Like many of you, I have been horrified by the recent news from Iran. Government security forces are violently cracking down on brave Iranians speaking out for women’s rights and freedom of expression. The students at Sharif University and many others throughout the country are showing extraordinary courage in protesting the country’s oppressive regime and have suffered brutal attacks. I am heartbroken by the harm they’ve endured and appalled by the attempts to silence their voices.
There are critical links between health and human rights, and as members of the public health community, we must stand for human rights everywhere, as well as the protection of society’s most vulnerable.
These principles are at stake in Iran, as in many other countries around the world. The recent protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who fell into a coma after being detained by the country’s “morality police” that has been used to suppress women. According to human rights groups, dozens more people have been killed in the ensuing unrest—including children.
We hold Mahsa’s memory, and the memory of all those who died after, close in our hearts. To those at the Bloomberg School who have loved ones in and ties to Iran, our thoughts are with you.
Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor