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Iran
07.10.22
Statements

We stand in solidarity with Iranian women and protesters

© FEMENA

We, undersigned feminist and human rights organizations stand in solidarity with the courageous women in Iran who have taken to the streets to peacefully protest the death-in-custody of Mahsa Amini and to demand their bodily rights.

We also express our profound sympathy to the families of the incredible Iranian protesters who have lost their lives to the ongoing brutal police crackdown in response to peaceful demonstrations. We urge all feminists and women human rights defenders, their organizations in different countries and particularly in the MENA region, to stand in solidarity with Iranian women and amplify their voices, through all means possible, especially now that Iran’s government has severely limited internet access across the country.

The weeks have witnessed unprecedented scenes of protesting in Iran. For the past four decades, the Iranian government has violently imposed mandatory hijab and other laws to limit women’s social and economic participation in society and force them out of the public space. Yet, despite violent crackdowns against women who have consistently and peacefully expressed demands for change, we are now witness to the Kurdish motto of “Women, Life, Freedom!” being chanted by Iranians across the country.

Protests broke out in Iran following the September 16 death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a 22-year-old woman, in police custody three days after she was arrested by “morality” police for allegedly wearing her headscarf loosely. Mahsa was on a family trip to Tehran, but within a few hours of going out with her brother, she was in a coma on a hospital bed due to sustained brain injury and never recovered. Despite threats by intelligence forces for a quick burial in silence, Mahsa’s family refused to succumb and took her body to Saqqez, her hometown. Women at her funeral took off their headscarves and widespread protests in Kurdistan province were ignited. This collective mourning of a life lost so soon and so unjustly, escalated into countrywide protests with women at the forefront of every demonstration.

In recent months, Iran’s government has ramped up arbitrary arrests and judicial harassment of civil society activists, especially women’s movement activists, in a blatant attempt to silence those who speak up against systematic discrimination and repression. At the same time, we have witnessed increased violence from the so-called “morality” police patrols toward women. The case of Sepideh Rashnou from July of this year was a vivid example of these often violent encounters. Sepideh was arrested soon after her verbal argument on a bus with a mandatory hijab enforcer went viral. Sepideh was violently arrested, kept in solitary confinement for weeks, and released after she had to make a forced televised confession where she clearly had a bruised face and was in poor health.

Iran’s recent protests are referred to as a feminist revolution. Young, fearless women in the streets are taking off their headscarves and setting them on fire right in front of massive line-ups of riot police forces and demanding freedom. These protests have now gone beyond all divides, and men in large numbers are supporting these fierce women. Even in small cities with more traditional beliefs, everyone is chanting “Women, Life, Freedom!”

Many women are sharing videos of themselves cutting their hair to protest Mahsa’s killing. Several female Iranian artists and celebrities forced to comply with mandatory hijab have joined the movement by posting videos in which they take off their hijab despite the repercussions that this might have on their careers. Celebrities and athletes are among others who are supporting Iran’s first-ever feminist revolution by stepping down from their sports teams or supporting protestors in interviews.

As the protests continue, the government has escalated its massive crackdown and scores of women human rights defenders, journalists, students, human rights lawyers, and ordinary protestors have been arrested. Based on recent reports from human rights groups, over 100 protesters have been killed by security forces. The government has also imposed another internet blackout to block people’s access to social networks and messaging apps to suppress the protests. This is similar to the pattern used in the 2019 uprisings, which blocked communication in social networks and messaging apps to stop people from sharing images from protests and the violent and bloody police crackdowns. However, the voice of women and feminist groups are amplified by their sisters and peers in many countries. They have stood up in solidarity by organizing protests and publishing videos supporting the movement in Iran.

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Iranian women who are protesting the unjust killing of Mahsa Amini and who are demanding democracy as well as rights to bodily autonomy and fundamental freedoms all over Iran. Furthermore, we urge our feminist sisters in international organizations and regional groups to show their solidarity in any way possible.

  • We urge UN Human Rights Council to condemn the violent actions of the Iranian government against women and hold them accountable for the suppression and killing of protesters.
  • We urge UN member states to support calls for a UN led investigative mechanism on Iran through the adoption of a resolution during an urgent session of the ongoing 51st regular session of Human Rights Council.
  • We urge the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls, the Special Rapporteur on Elimination of Violence against Women, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on Peaceful Assembly and other UN mandate holders to investigate and report on the systematic violation of the rights of Iranian women and protesters by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • UN and member states should work with the government of Turkey and Kurdistan Regional Government to ease border crossing restrictions for those rights defenders fleeing to safety and work to ensure the safety of HRDs in their respective countries. Governments and the UN should facilitate and expedite refugee status and repatriation processes of Iranian HRD and especially WHRDs in neighbouring countries who are at risk of extrajudicial retaliation by Iranian authorities.
  • We urge the governments of countries with diplomatic ties to Iran, especially Global South and non-aligned states, to summon the ambassadors of Iran and express their concerns over the violence being used against protesters and the widespread arrests of human rights defenders.
  • Donors should consider expanding and urgent support funding for human rights defenders, especially women human rights defenders, facing threat and risk, including fellowship and respite opportunities, that are more flexible and easy to access.
  • We ask international and regional human rights organizations to take a stance on the recent events in Iran, to follow up on the situation of those detained, press for their release, and demand that Iranian authorities ensure their safety and health while in detention.
  • We ask the journalist associations and unions to condemn the arrests and arbitrary detention of Iranian journalists in recent days, especially female journalists who have been at the forefront of reporting on recent developments.
  • We ask feminist groups and organizations to continue supporting Iranian women’s rights and their demands for bodily autonomy through protests, peaceful gatherings, statements, production of artwork, and other means.

Signatories

  1. Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran, US
  2. Advancing Knowledge in Democracy and Law Initiative, Malaysia/Southeast Asia
  3. Afghanistan Women Protesters, Afghanistan
  4. Aliansi Perempuan Bangkit / Emergence Women Alliance Indonesia
  5. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), Malaysia
  6. Arab Digital Expression Foundation, Egypt – Regional Mandate
  7. Arab Watch Coalition, MENA Region
  8. Article 19, Global
  9. Artistic Freedom Initiative, United States
  10. Arts for Women Indonesia, Indonesia
  11. Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, MENA Region
  12. Asociación Ciudadana ACCEDER, Costa Rica
  13. Association el-Karama, Tunisia
  14. Association for Monitoring Gender Equality, Turkey
  15. Association of Women Lawyers Sel & FT, Malaysia
  16. Association Suisse pour les Droits des Femmes, Switzerland
  17. Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates , Tunisie
  18. Assocition d Environnement et Developpement Durable , Tunisie
  19. AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development), Global
  20. Balance Promoción para el Desarrollo y Juventud, Mexico
  21. Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), India-South Asia
  22. BMMA, India
  23. Cairo Foundation for Development and Law, Egypt
  24. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), MENA Region
  25. Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW), Canada
  26. CCMW Niagara Chapter, Canada
  27. Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance, Egypt
  28. Center for Human Rights in Iran, United States
  29. Center for Human Rights Studies, University of Surabaya (CHRS Ubaya), Indonesia
  30. Center for Reproductive Rights, Global
  31. Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy, Germany
  32. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Malaysia
  33. Channel Foundation, United States
  34. CIVICUS, Global
  35. Coalition for Sexual & Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR), Indonesia
  36. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Global
  37. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Canada
  38. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces, United States
  39. Congrgacion Del Buen Pastor , Chile
  40. CREA, Global
  41. Culture Action Europe, Europe
  42. Daraj Media , Lebanon
  43. Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), MENA Region
  44. Demokratik Emekliler Sendikası (DEM-SEN) , Turkey
  45. Deutscher Frauenring e.v, Germany
  46. Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF), Nigeria
  47. Ecumenical Community for Contemplative Engagement
  48. Equality Fund, Global
  49. Equality Watch Women’s Group – Eşitlik İzleme Kadın Grubu (EŞİTİZ), Turkey
  50. ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey
  51. Erktolia, Turkey
  52. Fe-Male Feminist Collective, Lebanon
  53. FEDERA, Poland
  54. FEMENA, MENA Region
  55. Femmes et Droits Humains, Mali
  56. FIDH-MENA, MENA Region
  57. Forum Tunisien pour ls Droits Economiques et Sociaux , Tunisie
  58. Foundation Innovation Social Development, Sri Lanka
  59. Free Women Writers, Afghanistan, USA
  60. Fund for Congolese Women, Democratic Republic of Congo
  61. Fundacion Justicia y Genero, Latin America
  62. GAMCOTRAP, Gambia
  63. Gender and Democracy Centre, Indonesia
  64. Gerakan Perempuan Peduli Indonesia [Indonesian Women Awareness Movement], Indonesia
  65. Good Shepherd International Foundation, Italy
  66. Good Shepherd Mission Hub, Malaysia
  67. GreeneWorks, United States
  68. Hawaa Organization for Relief and Development, Iraq
  69. Human Rights Activists (in Iran), United States
  70. Human Rights Sentinel, MENA Region
  71. Human Rights Watch, Global
  72. IFEX, Global
  73. Indonesian Legal Aid Association for Women (APIK), Indonesian
  74. Inkyfada/Alkhatt, Tunisie
  75. Institute of the Third Space, Indonesia
  76. International Alliance of Women (IAW), Global
  77. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Global
  78. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP), Malaysia
  79. Intersection Association for Rights and Freedoms, Tunisia
  80. Iraqi Women Network, Iraq
  81. IRIS Women Watch, Turkey
  82. Isha Lisha- Haifa Feminist Center, Haifa
  83. Islamic Development and Relief Agency, South Sudan
  84. Jamaity, Tunisia
  85. Jeunes femmes pour la démocratie , Marocco
  86. Jurnal Sang Pemula, Malaysia
  87. Justice for Iran, Iran-UK
  88. Kaos GL, Turkey
  89. Kawaakibi Foundation, Norway
  90. KEDV, Turkey
  91. Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centrem, Palestine
  92. Kirmizi Biber Dernegi, Turkey
  93. KPI-LJSP Cabang Jember , Indonesia
  94. Kun Organization, Libya
  95. League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI), Iran
  96. Legal Dignity, Malaysia
  97. MADRE, Global
  98. MAJU, Malaysia
  99. Manushya Foundation, Southeast Asia
  100. Marta Abrantes Mendes, Marta Abrantes Mendes
  101. MenEngage Global Alliance, Global
  102. Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders, Mesoamerica
  103. Miaan Group, United States
  104. Musawah, Malaysia
  105. Muslims for Progressive Values, United States
  106. Mwatana for Human Rights, Yemen
  107. National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, United States
  108. National Observatory to Defend the Civility of the State, Tunisia
  109. No Peace Without Justice, Global
  110. No Sanctions on Iran, United States
  111. Noor, MENA Region
  112. Open Society Foundations, Global
  113. Organisation Contre la Torture en Tunisie , Tunisia
  114. PASS Foundation- Peace for Sustainable Societies, Yemen
  115. Passon Legal Organization, Afghanistan
  116. Peace Track Initiative, Yemen-Canada
  117. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Malaysia
  118. Persatuan Warisan Wibawa , Malaysia
  119. Political Well-Being, Turkey
  120. Programme Against Custodial Torture and Impunity (PACTI), India
  121. Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), MENA Region
  122. Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, United States
  123. Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice (RESURJ), Global South
  124. Réseau National des Jeunes Filles et Femmes Rurales du Mali ( RENAJFFERM), Mali
  125. Rosa Women’s Association, Turkey
  126. Rumpun Indonesia, Indonesia
  127. Saiamak Pourzand Foundation, Iran-US
  128. Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, Yemen
  129. Secularism Is A Women’s Issue, Global
  130. Sekolah Damai Indonesia (SEKODI) Bandung, Indonesia
  131. Sisters in Islam (SIS), Malaysia
  132. Sisters of the Good Shepherd-New York/Toronto Province, United States
  133. Sisters of the Good Shepherd, New Zealand, Australia
  134. Society for the Improvement of Rural People, Nigeria
  135. Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) , Malaysia
  136. Sonke Gender Justice, South Africa
  137. Southern and Eastern Trade Information and Negotiations Institute, Uganda
  138. Sukaar Welfare Organization, Pakistan
  139. Suluh Perempuan Indonesia , Indonesia
  140. The Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Asia-Pacific
  141. The Association for Struggle Against Sexual Violence, Turkey
  142. The Awakening – A Member of Men Engage Alliance Pakistan, Pakistan
  143. The Freedom Initiative, United States
  144. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), MENA Region
  145. The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation , Global
  146. The Munathara Initiative, MENA Region
  147. Turkish Council of Women, Turkey
  148. United for Iran, Iran-US
  149. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, United States
  150. Väter Aktiv, Italy
  151. Vigilance for Democracy and the Civic State, Tunisia
  152. Virtual Activism, United States
  153. WHRD MENA Coalition, MENA Region
  154. Women for Human Rights, Single Women Group (WHR), Nepal
  155. Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR) – New Ways, Turkey
  156. Women’s Rights Center, Montenegro
  157. Women’s March Malaysia, Malaysia
  158. Women’s Council Denmark, Denmark
  159. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Global
  160. Yayasan Penghapusan Kekerasan Terhadap Perempuan “Mitra Perempuan” [The Foundation For Elimination of Violence Against Women “Mitra Perempuan”], Indonesia
  161. Yayasan Perlindungan Insani Indonesia, Indonesia
  162. Yemen Future for Media and Culture Development, Yemen
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