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Campaign of Freedom for Women's Rights Defenders in Iran

At the 22 Khordad of 1384 (2005) the women activists gathered together in front of Tehran university for a peaceful demonstration to protest against the Constitution, considering it the root and origin of many discriminatory rules and regulations prevailing in Iran and to ask for reforms. In the final resolution issued by this group they requested for prevention of girl child forced marriages, protecting mothers' right for custody and guardianship of their children, prevention of polygamy (formal or informal), divorce by the husband, murder and honor killings, protecting young women/girls' right to choose their future life style, provision of safe houses to protect women victims of violence, prevention of self burning by women due to facing cul de sac in their social and private life, providing proper social life with free services to all women, especially those from lower comes of the society. During that day, the disciplinary forces used the buses of public transportation to surround the group and prevent other groups from joining them and when the protest was peacefully coming to its closure, the forces started beating them and later most of the participants where called over for interrogations.
March 8 of that year, the women's activists witnessed the violence of the disciplinary forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran once again. At the International Women's Day, a group of women's right defenders were carrying banners with the massage of "Freedom, equality, justice, peace and solidarity" and "A better world can be made, far from violence" while it was only fifteen minutes that the group had got together , they faced the electronic bats. The witnesses consider the behavior of the police to be very violent and some of the participants were reported to be wounded.
The women's activists consider article 27 of the Constitution allowing the citizens to hold peaceful gatherings in order to achieve violated rights of Iranian women and consider it as one of their fundamental rights, consequently, in other measure at Khordad 22, 1385 (2006) and the memorial of the gathering in front of Tehran University and to follow up their demands, once again got together in Haft-e Tir square to affirm their demand on prevention of polygamy, annulment of males' right for divorce, protection of custody and guardianship right of children by father and mother, mutually, approving equal right in marriage (such as right of employment and independent nationality and citizenship of married women, etc…), reform of legal age to 18, equal right to testimony and annulment of short term employment contracts and other discriminatory laws. In this event, the disciplinary forces once again used women police forces and adopted devices such as pepper sprays and started beating the participants and arrested some of them. They claimed that lack of permit for this gathering has been the reason of arrests made while according to the Constitution, protest without weapons and those not violating Islamic principles are allowed.
Some of those who were arrested were released on bail and some others spent months in prison. Most of them where called over for interrogation at judiciary and security offices. Some of the participants where required to stand trial and accused of taking measures against national security. The court of this trial was supposed to take place today March 4, 2007 (13 Esfand, 1385) in Islamic Revolution Court in Tehran.
The Women's movement started two campaigns last year along with its protests and peaceful demonstrations. The campaign on "Stop Stoning Forever" and "Change for Equality: One million signature" are the biggest battlefields that women's movement has ever created during its life. The coordinators and activists of these campaigns have been interrogated over and over again regarding their activities and trips to other countries for some of them to attend training workshops have been stopped, their houses have been searched and the disciplinary forces confiscated their computers and documents.
In line with the interrogations and threats against the defenders of women's rights, a group of them issued a statement on 11 Esfand and spread the news of holding a peaceful demonstration/protest in front of Islamic Revolution Court to announce their solidarity with 5 members of women's movement attending the court for a trial. The demonstrators were carrying banners with messages such as "According to article 27 of the Constitution, peaceful protest and demonstration is our right and all of us attended the demonstration of 22 Khordad". The disciplinary forces acted violently to this gathering like the previous experiences and over 20 women's right defender were arrested and taken to prison.
It seems that the government of Islamic Republic of Iran has put its efforts to suppress Iranian women activists and to prevent their activities and measures, trying to tighten the arena to them. By the recent arrests and wide threats, creating a field to defend the detained activists is a necessity and is the main objective of human rights defenders. The campaign for freedom of women's movement activists in freedom with the aim of achieving freedom for women's rights defenders and affirming the right to hold peaceful demonstration to follow up their demands is the right of Iranian women.


Posted by: Bachmann, Susanne at: 03/05/2007 02:19:08 PM

God Help you and us all!

Posted by: Denise DuFault at: 03/07/2007 03:12:30 AM

Posted by: silvia at: 03/13/2007 03:09:12 PM

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