“PARIS, 10 Mar. (IPS) “The International Women’s Day is being held at a time when the women of our country still have a long way to go to attain their full rights as citizens. While women in Iran comprise some 60 percent of new university students in the country, they continue to be denied some of their basic rights”, Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, Iranian lawyer, human rights campaigner and the 2004 Noble Peace Prize winner said.
She made the remarks on 9 March to the independent Iranian internet newspaper “Rooz (Day) one day after police and plainclothes agents charged with an extreme brutality a peaceful gathering of women marking the International Women’s Day.
I’m sad, more for the young men that attacked the participants than for the young girls and women who were charged by the plainclothes men.
“Young basiji and plainclothes men beat hundreds of women and men, including Iran’s most revered and respected national poet Mrs. Simin Behbahani, who had gathered in a Tehran park to commemorate the International Women’s Day”, an eyewitness told Iran Press Service.
“I’m sad, more for the young men that attacked the participants than for the between 300 to 400 young girls and women who had come together in the park and were charged by the plainclothes men. I don’t understand the reason behind such savagery, as they had done nothing illegal. They had gathered for a peaceful demonstration”, the aged, but robust poet and human rights activist told the Prague-based 24 hours Radio Farda.
“When people protested that Mrs. Behbahani is in her 70s and she can barely see, the security officer kicked her several times and continued to hit her with his baton”, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) quoted another witness on the scene, adding that the security forces also took several foreign journalists into custody and confiscated their photographic equipment and video footage before releasing them.
“This was a completely peaceful gathering. There were slogans on any kind except posters about the event and for the respect of women’s rights’, the eyewitness added.
The security forces then dumped cans of garbage on the heads of women who were seated before charging into the group and beating them with batons to compel them to leave the park.
“As we started to run away and seek shelter, they followed us and continued to beat us. I was beaten several times on my arm, below the waist, and on my wrist”, an activist said.
“The attack on women’s rights activists highlights the Iranian government’s consistent policy of suppressing freedom of association and assembly, HRW said in a statement.
“Laws in Iran continue to discriminate against women so that not only are they barred from running for high office, such as that of the president, or having the right to divorce, but they are even denied the most basic right of existence. The blood money for a murdered woman is still half that of a man”, Mrs Ebadi stressed.
“To understand the depth of this discrimination, let me give an example. If in a car accident two people are killed, one a woman who is the head of a household and the other a single man without a family responsibility, the blood money that the law provides to be paid to the surviving family of the woman is half of what the surviving parents of the man would get”, the Nobel laureate went on.
“This is despite the fact that some of the religious decrees on which this law is based are now mute and irrelevant to our present day life. Of course one can understand that when men were the only bread-winners of a family and women were under their guardianship, this old principle made economic sense. But today when women work and are the bread-winners of a family, this principle cannot be justified and is out of date. This is why some high clergy such as ayatollah (Yousef) Sane’i have rejected this discrimination in blood money and have issued legal decrees for the equality of treatment in this regard between the genders”, she pointed out.
“In other words, the reason why such discriminatory laws exist is because of traditional interpretations of Islam by conservative government officials. This is of course only one discriminatory right against women in Iran which is upheld on the excuse that these rules are unalterable”, Mrs. Ebadi, the first ever women judge in Iran continued in the article.
in Iran continue to discriminate against women
Since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in August, security forces have repeatedly resorted to violence to suppress peaceful gatherings. In January, security forces in Tehran attacked and arrested hundreds of striking bus drivers who were protesting working conditions and in February, security forces in the city of Qom used excessive force and tear gas to detain hundreds of Sufi followers who had gathered in front of their house of worship to prevent its destruction by the authorities. WOMEN DAY 10306