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Secular State as the Alternative to the Present State in Iran (in Persian)

A lecture by Abdol-Karim Lahidji, from the panel discussion "Secularism and Gender in Iran of Today"

Abdol-Karim Lahidji has been a human rights activist since 1958, while he was attending Tehran University Law School. During his years at the Law School, he was twice arrested and imprisoned for publicly defending the right to free expression and political dissent. In March 1982, Mr. Lahidji fled (was smuggles out of) Iran via Kurdistan and went to Paris, France to begin his life of exile. Six months later his wife and two children joined him. Once settled in Paris, he invited a group of Iranian exiles in France to establish a new organization, the League for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI), in order to expose the Islamic Republic’s human rights record and publicize the danger facing Iran’s political dissidents at home. In 1984, LDDHI joined the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and took some initiatives to expand its activities throughout Europe and North America. Over the past years, LDDHI has had a steady and influential presence in the international human rights community and Mr. Lahidji’s name has become virtually synonymous with the League. He regularly participates in a variety of non-governmental meetings and conferences to promote the objectives of the League and provide information and analysis about the situation of human rights in Iran. He also writes articles for a number of Persian publications in exile. His books and essays address a variety of human rights issues, including torture of political prisoners and gender-related discrimination and discrimination against religious minorities. In 1990, Mr. Lahidji was a recipient of Human Rights Watch award for outstanding monitors of human rights in the world. He is also vice-president of the International Federation of Human Rights since 1998, elected in five consecutive congress of this NGO.

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