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High Commissioner for Human Rights Concerned over Arrests of Women Activists in ‎Iran

6 March 2007

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today expressed strong concern over the arrest by the security police of at least 31 women activists during a peaceful gathering in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran on 4 March.

The High Commissioner emphasized that these women were exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. They were staging a peaceful demonstration against the arrests and court procedures of five women activists, who were charged with criminal offences against public order and security for having organized a women's demonstration in Haft-e Tir Square of Tehran in June 2006.

The High Commissioner highlighted that the arrests occurred four days before the celebration of International Women's Day (8 March), which is dedicated this year to the theme of "Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls." The High Commissioner noted in this regard that on 8 March last year, Iranian security forces also violently broke up a peaceful gathering of hundreds of women who were demonstrating for their rights in Tehran's Daneshjoo Park.

The High Commissioner recalled that Iran is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the International Covenant on Economic, Civil and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Iran must adhere to the legal obligations undertaken under the above international human rights treaties to respect all human rights without discrimination, said the High Commissioner. The High Commissioner further encouraged the Iranian government to ratify other international human rights treaties, in particular the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its optional protocol.