March 7, 2022 – On the eve of International Women’s Day, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) celebrates women everywhere who are at the vanguard of the struggle for human rights despite crushing adversity.In Iran, courageous women, including lawyers, activists, journalists, and mothers of the victims of state violence, are demanding justice, freedom, equality, and basic civil liberties for all Iranians, despite facing systemic human rights abuses and discrimination.
Every day, women in Iran see their rights challenged and their freedoms curtailed:
The peaceful advocacy of women’s rights is criminalized and many women have been imprisoned for their activism
Women face widespread, legalized violence including inadequate protections against domestic violence and child marriage for girls aged 13 and even younger
Women do not have equal rights to justice or in family or financial matters, and face discrimination in the workplace and the political and public spheres
The unbreakable spirit of Iranian women is also seen among mothers whose children have been killed by the state. These mothers, which include the Mothers of Laleh Park and the Mothers of Khavaran, are helping to lead the new “Seeking Justice” (Dadkhahi) movement in Iran despite constant harassment and intimidation by state security agencies and imprisonment.
“My purpose in going on with life is to find my son’s killers,” Nahid Shirpisheh, who witnessed the fatal shooting of her son Pouya Bakhtiari by state security forces at a street protest in November 2019, told CHRI. “I want to see the punishment of the person who ordered the killing of Pouya and other Pouyas in such an atrocious manner.”
Meanwhile women political prisoners are subjected to inhumane living conditions and abuse, in a further effort to silence their voices. They are:
Prevented access to crucial medical care
Blocked from visiting or speaking to their children
Transferred to prisons far from their families and forced into prolonged periods of solitary confinement
The Iranian government has also been reducing social services and reproductive healthcare for women in need. For example, the House of the Sun, an NGO that provides services to thousands of women suffering from drug addiction, is one of many NGOs that have been forced to close its doors due to state pressure, and the government has reduced access to reproductive care in state clinics.
The Center for Human Rights in Iran salutes the brave women of Iran and their struggle for justice, equal rights, and civil and political rights for all Iranians, and calls on the international community to express their full support for these women as well.