UNEP Renews Plea For Release Of Niloufar and 8 Other Environmental Conservationists Imprisoned In Iran

Niloufar Bayani. Photo courtesy of Who is Niloufar Bayani Facebook.

NAIROBI, Feb 13 – The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has renewed its call for clemency and for the safe return home of Niloufar Bayani, and eight other environmental conservationists imprisoned in the Republic of Iran the last five years. 

In a statement issued today, UNEP said that in February 2018, Bayani and eight environmental conservationists were imprisoned and subsequently sentenced to lengthy jail terms in Iran.

UNEP has renewed its call for their release in view of the note of the pardons recently issued by the Iranian authorities.

“UNEP wishes to recall that between 2012 and 2017, Bayani worked as a consultant based out of UNEP’s Geneva office. A deeply committed and hardworking colleague, Bayani focused on enhancing the resilience of communities against disasters and climate change. This mission took Bayani to countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Ivory Coast and Sri Lanka. She was also lead author of several UNEP publications that examined how the regulatory functions of ecosystems could provide a buffer against disaster

“A conservation biologist by training, however, it was in conserving Iran’s natural heritage and unique species where Bayani’s heart lay, and in 2017 she returned to her home country to work on efforts to conserve the Persian or Asian Cheetah, one of the most endangered large cat species in the world.”

She was arrested in Feb 2018 along with other internationally, recognized experts in the field of nature conservation.

“Our natural world is under tremendous pressure. The triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, threatens to erode decades of progress on poverty reduction and sustainable development. Environmental conservationists are critical allies in protecting the rights of current and future generations to a clean, health and sustainable environment. We cannot build a better future without them,” UNEP said, hoping for the release of the conservationists on humanitarian grounds.