Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Petition to promote women’s rights in Iran

Much to the dismay of the Iranian government, one Iranian woman is working to gather one million signatures from her fellow Iranian women to protest their lack of rights, including divorce and custody, according to a New York Times editorial yesterday.

Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, has brought together multiple organizations and publications to educate women on their rights. The movement, which started last year, has no official leadership to avoid retaliation. However, about 400 women have been trained to educate other women, obtain signatures for the petition, and hand out leaflets describing how Iran’s interpretation of Islamic law denies women their full rights.

“By getting one million signatures, the world will know we object to these conditions,” Ebadi said.

In an effort to bring Ebadi’s peaceful protest to an end, the Iranian government recently blocked access to the campaign’s website. However, the women were unfazed, and re-launched their site with a different web address just hours later.

The exceedingly repressive stance of the Iranian regime illustrates the importance of Ebadi’s work. The Iranian Council of Guardians, which has greater authority than President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has vetoed legislation that would have advanced civil liberties and, in 2004, essentially banned moderate parliamentary candidates from running for office.

Despite the obstacles, the women push forward. More than 30,000 Iranian women have already signed the petition, and the editorial’s writer, Maura J. Casey, is hopeful that the campaign will inspire like-minded action from other reformers. As Casey puts it, “If Iran’s women start questioning their lack of rights, perhaps Iran’s men will have the courage to speak out, too.”

For the full article, click here.


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