Oppose Iran’s government’s attempt to join the executive board of the newly established United Nations Women! Women of Iran, subjected to gender discrimination, oppression and imprisonment
Women in Iran are deprived of many basic human rights. From its inception, the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken away women’s basic rights by abolishing the Family Protection Law of 1967/1976 and other laws favouring women which were the outcome of decades of work. Immediately after taking power, the IRI hanged Iran’s first woman minister, legalised compulsory veiling through the use of force, and removed hundreds of woman lawyers and judges and thousands of other professional women from their positions. Iran is among a few UN member states that has refused to join CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of Gender Discrimination Against Women).
Most recently, Iranian women have been subjected to further humiliation by the new Family Bill which further facilitates married as well as single men’s “right” to polygamy and temporary marriages, ruining the basis of the equilibrium in the family institution. The IRI has established gender segregation in many public arenas, including public buses and educational centres. However, despite systematic violence against women for the past 30 years, women of Iran have utilised all their power and abilities to gradually stand up for themselves and demand a portion of what was taken away from them. They have entered the universities and graduated en-masse, becoming lawyers to defend the defenceless, writing about their situation in the magazines and web sites, publishing memoirs and books and challenging the oppressive power and slowly, but steadily letting the world know of their situation.
Ironically, using bureaucratic mechanisms of the United Nations, the Iranian government may succeed in sitting at the executive committee of the newly established UN Women. The newly established women’s entity which is the outcome of years work for the development and advancement of women and which in the words of the UN Secretary General aims to “significantly boost UN efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity and tackle discrimination around the globe.” But this new agency will lose its credibility should countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia that have no regards for gender equality, sit at its executive board. UN Women will be diverted into the wrong direction and its image and purpose will be tarnished right from the start.
International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI), on the eve of its first conference on “A Non-violent Approach to the Growing Violence in Iran” expresses its objection to the membership of Iran and Saudi Arabia to the executive board of UN Women. ICAVI urges all committed member states to set mechanisms for membership in this entity in order to deny membership of states such as Iran that have not only not ratified CEDAW, but also fail to observe basic human rights of women and men in their perspective countries. International Coalition Against Violence in Iran (ICAVI)
1 November 2010
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