Iran Women Rights Defenders Continue Undeterred by Prison Detention

Susan notes: Iranian women will prevail one day. In the meantime, their battle goes on. This excellent post by Elahe Amani, who was once incarcerated in Evin prison for more than three months, shows just how determined they are.

iran-flag.jpgToday on a daily basis, personal memoirs of ongoing encounters of dictatorship and resistance in Iran are being written in print and in cyberspace by countless Iranian civil rights activists, scholars and women human rights defenders.

In the process of finding a new transitional global identity, Iran state authorities have steadily continued in the use of legislative delays, reversal of legal means and arrests of dissidents, activists and journalists.

Younger, as well as older, women human rights defenders, are now finding themselves victim to increasing intelligence policies of non-disclosure, intimidation and repression.

The IRI (Islamic Republic of Iran) state detention policies act as only a surrogate solution to many of the social problems now growing inside the country. Human rights groups and international rescue teams watch as the list of detainees grows longer, as women have become targets in a shifting Iranian system of legal sanctions.

“According to Iranian officials,” said Amnesty International in a February 10, 2010 release, “over 40 people have died in demonstrations since the election, which were violently repressed by the security forces. Amnesty International said it believes the number to be at least 80 and possibly many more. More than 5,000 people have been arrested, many of whom were tortured or otherwise ill-treated.”

A clear crisis in the prison system inside Iran is growing.

As sports stadiums closed the doors to women attending sports events; as family courtrooms denied the rights of women to custody in divorce; as “proper” women’s dress became part of a hidden discourse of Iranian social criticism calling dress code enforcement officers “Chastity Guards” and “Morality Police;” women working in the field of speaking publicly on the issues of gender equality have been placed in ever increasing danger.

“The women’s rights movement has borne the brunt of this repression, in particular since the launch of the ‘One Million Signatures’ Campaign, in August 2006. This campaign seeks to provide education on women’s rights at the grassroots level and to obtain a repeal of discriminatory laws against women. To this end, the Campaign collects signatures that it plans to submit to the Parliament,” said the International Federation for Human Rights in an August 2007 appeal to the IRI.

The IRI is “in full compliance with the relevant international commitments it has taken on in a genuine and long-term approach to safeguard human rights,” said Secretary General of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, Mohammad Larijani, at a recent United Nations review of human rights violations at the February 2010 UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.

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By Elahe Amani
Women News Network
Photo credit:
Women News Network

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