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35 Years of Forced Hijab: The Widespread and Systematic Violation of Women's Rights in Iran

March, 2014
Iran is the first country where all women are forced by law to observe hijab laws. Without espousing a clear definition of hijab, Islamic Republic laws consider women who lack “Islamic veil” in “public” as committing a crime punishable by imprisonment and fines. Based on Sharia laws, Islamic hijab implies covering hair and the entire body except for wrists and hands. However, a failure to observe hijab as determined by security or other official forces involve many other instances.

Stolen Lives, Empty Classrooms: An Overview on the Girl Marriages in Iran

October, 2013

Forced marriages result from harmful traditional practices1 justified in the name of cultural, economic, political and/or legal standards. Forced marriages are a phenomenon tantamount to slavery, as explicated in a report by a United Nations Special Rapporteur, and often affect boys and girls under 18 years of age, especially under 10. 2 Global statistics demonstrate that every minute an average of 27 girls are forced into marriage.

Crime & Impunity: A pioneering report on sexual torture in Iranian Prisons

December, 2012

On 10 December 2012, Justice for Iran launched this first-ever comprehensive report on sexual violence and torture in Iranian prisons.

This weighty report based on testimonials of victims, survivors, witnesses and experts, examines the extent to which women prisoners were systematically subjected to sexual violence as a gender-specific means of silencing young Iranian girls and women dissidents.

Activism Under the Radar: Volunteer Health Workers in Iran

May, 2009

Few would disagree that the 1979 Iranian revolution, despite the massive participation of women, rapidly became a catastrophe for women’s legal status and social position. Under the Shah, Iran had a mildly forward-looking family law limiting men’s rights to polygamy and unilateral divorce, and, at least theoretically, basing child custody on the best interests of the child. Within two weeks of the revolution, this legislation was annulled, on the grounds that it was against the shari‘a. The new Islamic Republic introduced retrograde laws that, among other things, valued a woman’s life at half of a man’s, and considered two women witnesses to be the equal of one man. The age of marriage as well as maturity for women was reduced to nine. At the same time, the regime promoted motherhood as the only viable life option for women and dismantled the family planning unit the Shah’s regime had founded. In 1989, concerned about the burgeoning population, the Islamic Republic made a volte face and introduced one of the most successful family planning programs in the developing world. In the process of transmitting health messages, however, these volunteers continuously found ways to redefine their mandate and expand their position in other areas of the public sphere.

The King, the Mufti & the Facebook Girl: A Power Play. Who Decides What is Licit in Islam?

April, 2012

Abstract: Saudi Arabia enforces a ban on woman driving on the grounds that it is prohibited by sharia law. Women’s associations have actively denounced this ban for years, arguing that it was the only Muslim country which had such a peculiar interpretation of Islamic law. A power play is taking place online on this subject between the ulema (who support the ban), the Saudi authorities and feminine associations. This situation raises the question: “Who decides what is licit or illicit in Islam?” Muslim women’s associations merely ask for the implementation in Muslim countries of the “best practices” in Islamic law which exist anywhere, as a substitute for those laws which are unfavorable to women’s rights or do not protect their interests adequately.

Stones Aimed at Us: An Overview of the Discourse and Strategies of the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign

March, 2010

There has never been a clear and uncontroversial definition of religious fundamentalism and there is no consensus as to whether religious fundamentalism is a phenomenon, a movement, or a process. Nevertheless, having been exposed to religious fundamentalism in its fullest meaning after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian women and an analysis of their experience might offer a proper definition. This resource provides an overview of the discourses around the issue of stoning in Iran, and the strategies of the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign.

The Arab Spring: 20 Measures for Equality

March, 2012

Women, alongside men, participated in the protest movements that shook the Arab world in 2011 demanding freedom, equality, justice and democracy. Women, as well as men, paid and continue to pay a high price for their struggles. Today women must be able to play their full part in building the futures of their countries. Women's participation in public and political life, on an equal basis with men, is an essential condition for democracy and social justice, values at the heart of the Arab spring.

“Steps of the Devil” Denial of Women’s and Girls’ Rights to Sport in Saudi Arabia

February, 2012

This report documents discrimination by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education in denying girls physical education in state schools, as well as discriminatory practices by the General Presidency for Youth Welfare, a youth and sports ministry, in licensing women’s gyms and supporting only all-male sports clubs. The National Olympic Committee of Saudi Arabia also has no programs for women athletes and has not fielded women in past Olympic Games.

الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا: بوادر لاستمرار الاحتجاجات والقمع في 2012

January, 2012

حذرت منظمة العفو الدولية اليوم في تقرير جديد حول الأحداث المأسوية التي شهدتها السنة الفائتة من أنه من المرجح أن يستمر تسميم أجواء الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا في 2012 جراء العنف والقمع الذي تمارسه الدول، ما لم تستيقظ الحكومات في الإقليم والقوى الدولية إلى مدى عمق التغيرات المطلوبة منها للتعامل مع ما يحدث.

Year of Rebellion: The State of Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa

January, 2012

Repression and state violence is likely to continue to plague the Middle East and North Africa in 2012 unless governments in the region and international powers wake up to the scale of the changes being demanded of them, Amnesty International warned today in a new report into the dramatic events of the last year.

In the 80-page Year of Rebellion: State of Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, the organization describes how governments across the region were willing in 2011 to deploy extreme violence in an attempt to resist unprecedented calls for fundamental reform.

What the Women Say: The Arab Spring & Implications for Women

December, 2011

As the Arab world rumbles and shakes, women in the region are experiencing the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with instability, transition and crisis. From Tunisia and Egypt to Syria, Libya and Bahrain, women have been present and vocal in the street protest movements, standing shoulder to shoulder with the men, resisting the batons and tear gas, and being killed. Many have been key organizers and leaders in social networking, helping to articulate a common message and vision of freedom, democracy and equality, and providing logistical support to men at the frontlines of violence. They have also faced many of the same physical and sexual threats and risks that women elsewhere have encountered during crises and transitions, including harassment, assault and death. Despite their contribution, they are again facing exclusion from the political processes under way.

The Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

October, 2011
UN Special Rapporteur on Iran - Ahmed Shaheed

The present report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 16/9, which establishes the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the first country mandate of the Human Rights Council on the Islamic Republic of Iran since the termination in 2002 of the mandate of the former Commission on Human Rights. The resolution mandates the Special Rapporteur to: (a) submit an interim report to the General Assembly at its sixty-sixth session and (b) to submit a report to the Human Rights Council for consideration at its nineteenth session. It also calls upon the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperate fully with the mandate holder and to permit access to visit the country as well as provide all necessary information to enable the fulfilment of the mandate.

Iraq: Shadow Report on UN Universal Periodic Review

February, 2010

Stakeholder Report the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Process by Karama - Feb. 2010

Key Measures to End Gender-Based Discrimination and Violence Against Women in Saudi Arabia

October, 2011

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Convention) in 2000, yet maintained certain reservations, especially in regards to Article 2, stating that “In case of contradiction between any term of the Convention and the norms of Islamic law, the Kingdom is not under obligation to observe the contradictory terms of the Convention.”

More Under the Veil: Women and Muslim Fundamentalism in MENA

May, 2011


It is important to begin any discussion related to religious fundamentalism with an exploration of what is meant by the term “fundamentalism.” The word “fundamentalism” was originally coined in reference to a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century. In the broadest sense, fundamentalism can be understood as “a selective retrieval and imposition of...[religious] law and sacred texts as the basis for a modern socio-political order” (Hardacre 1994:130).

 

Yemen's dark side: Discrimination against violence against women and girls

November, 2009


Women in Yemen face systemic dicsrimination and endemic violence, with devastating consequences for their lives. Their rights are routinely violated because Yemeni laws as well as tribal and customary practices treat them as second class citizens. 

Women are not free to marry who they want and some are forced to marry when they are children, sometimes as young as eight. Once married, a woman must obey her husband and obtain his permission just to leave the house.

Sakineh, A Symbol of State Violence

March, 2011

This video marked the launch of the online campaign: Stop state violence against women in Iran!, which is a project by one of our partners, the Institute for Women's Empowerment (IWE). The campaign goal is to mobilise public opinion, both national and international, to stop Iranian state violence against women.