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UN Reports To Call Out Iran On Women's Rights Abuses

GENEVA, March 6, 2020 — Ahead of next week's unprecedented UN focus on the situation of human rights in Iran, including the Tehran government's violation of women's rights, Iranian women's right activist and former political prisoner Shaparak Shajarizadeh is available for interviews. (Please contact to request an interview.)

On Monday, the UN Human Rights Council will debate the annual report of its independent monitor on Iran.

On Thursday, the 47-nation body will debate another report on Iran, from the mandatory quadrennial review of its human rights record, that includes more than 50 recommendations on women's rights issues.

On March 20th, the council will adopt its annual resolution on human rights in Iran, in connection with a third report on Iran's human rights situation, by UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres.

About Iranian Women's Rights Activist Shaparak Shajarizadeh

Arrested, beaten and jailed for publicly removing her hijab, Shajarizadeh, who escaped to Canada, received the 2020 International Women’s Rights Award at last month’s 12th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, organized by UN Watch with a cross-regional coalition of two dozen human rights non-governmental organizations.

In her award acceptance speech, Shajarizadeh described being “arrested for the crime of waving a white flag of peace in the street” and “beaten up and brutalized during interrogation, and thrown into solitary confinement.”

She also spoke about the plight of her lawyer Nasrin Sotudeh, who is unlawfully imprisoned—as cited in the UN chief's report—on trumped-up charges stemming from her advocacy on behalf of marginalized groups and human rights defenders. Shajarizadeh has just published a new French-language memoir of her life story.

UN Reports Call Out Iran's Abuse of Women's Rights

Each of the three reports on Iran, from this month's UNHRC session, addresses serious violations of women's rights by the Tehran government.

1. Report by UN Special Rapporteur on Iran

The report by Javaid Rehman, the council's Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, expresses "alarm at the ongoing repression of women human rights defenders who object to compulsory veiling." It "condemns the recent sentencing of three women human rights defenders: Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi and Mojgan Keshavarz."

He finds "increasing pressure on families of human rights defenders," citing the arrest the brother of prominent women’s rights defender Masih Alinejad.

"The treatment of women human rights defenders, and of all individuals seeking to support the human rights of women, many of whom have faced harassment, arrest and detention, is of grave concern," says Rehman.

2. Report of UN Secretary General Guterres

The UN chief's report refers to information received attesting to Iranian “torture and arbitrary detention" and on “persistent discrimination against women and girls and members of minorities.”

“Discrimination against women in law and in practice remains widespread, notably with regard to marriage, divorce, child custody, freedom of movement, employment and access to political functions.”

3. Report from UNHRC Quadrennial Review of Iran's Human Rights Record 

Recommendations from the quadrennial review of Iran's record call on the Tehran government to "release political prisoners, including women’s rights activists"; to "undertake far-reaching reforms of the legislation relating to the status and rights of women" and to "amend legislation on the lawful marriage age to increase it to 18 years old"; and to "eliminate all forms of discrimination against women."

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