The #Tezos4Iran Fundraiser event (click here for more info and how to participate) has been a great success so far, raising over 5500 (16.11.22) Tezos in donations thanks to the Tezos Art community. It is a symbol of solidarity with the brave Iranians protesting for their human rights in the streets right now.
When the event was set up, we announced that all donations will go towards United For Iran, an organisation that supports the Iranian protests from outside of Iran with technology, documentation and providing info and help to protestors on the ground. Picking this organisation was the result of a long research and discussion process. The main objective was to pick an organisation that has real impact on the ground, and one that we could legally send funds to via our donation offramp partner Crypto For Charity.
However, after 5000 Tezos were off-ramped from the donation contract to Crypto For Charity, they alerted us to a problem with the distribution of the funds towards United for Iran: It seems that United For Iran have some issues with state tax documents which cause them to have a ‘delinquent’ status. Due to the time this seems to be taking to resolve, the legal department of Crypto for Charity suggested finding another organisation because they can’t legally release the money to United For Iran in a timely manner. Alas, they asked us which organisation we want to forward the donations to instead, as they cannot hold on to the money for longer periods of time and aren't able to send the money back.
For all of us, the fact that we can't deliver on our promise to hand over the donations to the announced organisation puts us in a very unfortunate and distressing situation and we acknowledge the potential for trust to be lost at various levels. We are still exploring and learning the best ways we can be effective with fundraising, and these hiccups have to be taken as steps in that process. Should United For Iran become eligible again, we will look into introducing the donation path towards their work once again.
Where will the already offramped donations go?
Going forward, we feel it is our responsibility to make sure these donations get used for purposes that have actual positive impact for the protests and advocating for human rights in Iran in a timely manner in ways that are legally safe for everyone involved.
As you might already know, finding such organisations is not easy because on the one hand, the Islamic Republic prohibits and prosecutes human rights activism and civil rights groups in Iran, on the other hand the international sanctions make it really hard to set up legal ways of direct monetary support from outside of Iran.
We carefully looked at all options that are available to us again to determine to whom the already donated funds should go to and also reached out to United4Iran to get their opinion on which orgs they would like to endorse (they sent us back a statement you can read below)
Based on all of that, we picked two organisations we feel are closest to our key objectives:
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran (ABC): This organisation has been suggested to us by United 4 Iran. It has a long history in advocating for civil rights for Iranian people as well as documenting human rights violations by the Iranian regime and supporting protests. They maintain the Omid Memorial which documents info on over 25,000 prisoners and maintain databases of executions, assassinations and floggings.
Center For Human rights in Iran: (CHRI) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organisation working to protect and promote human rights in Iran. Headquartered in New York, CHRI is comprised of award-winning journalists, researchers, lawyers, activists, writers, multimedia specialists and advocates based around the world who work to support the basic rights and freedoms of the Iranian people.
How to proceed?
Fortunately, as announced, the donation contract we set up can be modified so the receiving address(es) can be changed if needed. We could also introduce multiple addresses that get a split of the donations received.
We will need to discuss the best way forward for all the donations that arrive into the donation address in the future. We could either keep on donating to the two orgs mentioned above and add United 4 Iran back to the mix once they are eligible again, but we could also look into more ways to support human rights in Iran.
We brainstormed a few more ideas like donating to software projects that can help to avoid internet censorship or commissioning artworks that can be used for digital activism.
In general it looks like splitting up the donations between multiple orgs/causes could be a good strategy going forward to avoid situations like this.
If you have ideas, questions or suggestions, or want to give your feedback, feel free to join the conversation there in the Thread “Solidarity with Iranian Artists” under the channel “Event-Planning”. You can also read up on all the previous convos that lead to this point. This is just the second fundraiser event Teias charity has set up thus far and having more people on the Team would help immensely to further improve our charity efforts and strategies.
Your contribution and opinion is very much appreciated!
Statement by Firuzeh of United 4 Iran
Ben Simon (of Crypto for Charity), who I met through Web of Change, reached out to me to provide support for the ongoing protest movement in Iran. In addition to our work at United for Iran, I’m also happy to recommend the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran, both of which have been working on human rights in Iran for over a decade.
Our organisation, United for Iran, is an independent nonprofit based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our work aims to improve human rights conditions in Iran, increase the capacity of civil society, and engage citizens through technology. The Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran works to promote the creation of a stable democracy in Iran by promoting human rights awareness through educational initiatives.
The Boroumand Center was established by the daughters of Abdorrahman Boroumand, an Iranian lawyer and pro-democracy activist who was assassinated by agents of the Islamic Republic in his home in Paris, France. Since then, a large part of the Boroumand Center’s work and identity has been formed through the creation and maintenance of the Omid (Hope) database, which chronicles information on individuals who have been murdered by the Islamic Republic. Omid creates a space where the bravest and boldest Iranians can still be with us; a space where their legacies may not only be remembered, but also signifies the future Iran we strive to create. The Omid database aims to create a space where families and friends of those murdered can not only grieve, but imagine and work toward a future Iran where truth, justice, and accountability can take hold.
The Boroumand Center also supports extensive in-country work and advocacy efforts. As an example, this week Ladan Boroumand and other Iranian activists met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss matters in Iran. Since that meeting, Macron has become the first head of state to recognize the ongoing protests as a “revolution” – an explicit recognition of the people’s movement and its demands.
It is an honour to recommend the Boroumand Center and in a small way support their indispensable efforts. We thank you so much for your support of our collective work. This is a critical time for Iran, and it is crucial that we all do what we can to ensure the success of the movement. A democratic Iran would be a powerful signal against global tendencies toward authoritarian movements, and would have significant ripple effects in the region and throughout the world.