Karim Lahiji

Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Karim Lahiji has been elected president of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), succeeding Souhayr Belhassen, who served as FIDH chief for six years.

The report on the FIDH website indicates that Lahiji, who previously served as FIDH vice president and president of the League of Defence of Human rights in Iran, is the first president of the human rights organization from Iran.

In his first speech as FIDH president, Lahiji said: “It is an immense honour to have been elected president of FIDH. My first message is to all the human rights defenders who are arbitrarily detained, wherever they are in the world. We will continue endlessly to call for their immediate, unconditional release. My thoughts turn especially to my colleagues and friends Ales Bialiatski, in prison in Belarus, and Nabeel Rajab, detained in Bahrain.”

The FIDH, founded in 1922, is the oldest international human rights organization, and its 164 members span over more than 100 countries.