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240 activists’ protest against the acid attacks and new legislation

Posted on: 11th November, 2014
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HRANA news agency – More than 240 civil activists issued a statement, protesting against the acid attacks and the new religious legislation “promotion of virtue”. These activists emphasized that acid attacks and the new legislations are clear indications of increasing level of violation of women rights in Iran.

According to HRANA report and quoted by Radio Farda, this statement has been signed by a number of activists including Shirin Ebadi, Mahnaz Parakand, Kazem Alamdari, Hassan Yousefi Eshkavari, Asiya Amini, Parastoo Forouhar, Fariba Davoodi Mohajer, Mehri Jafari, Parvin Ardalan and Kouhyar Goodarzi. These activists expressed serious concerns over recent acid attacks in Iran as well as the new religious legislation approved by the Iranian parliament (i.e. promotion of virtue) and suggested that these are coordinated attempts to normalize the violence against women in Iran.

The undersigned of this declaration accused the Iranian government of making “the public life and urban environment tighter and less secure for Iranian women” and in this situation “some extremists with Daesh (ISIS)-like beliefs are empowered to attack Iranian women with the alibi of controlling women clothing and carry out acid attacks against Iranian girls.”

The full text of the statement follows:

Those who committed acid attacks and the parliamentarians who approved the legislation of “supporting the promotion of virtue” are planning to normalize the violence against women in Iran. Iranian women have long been victims of systematic suppression and male-dominating behavior, and this time the extremists use acid attacks to control them. We are not speaking of historical wounds but ongoing tortures that targeted Iranian women. Unfortunately, under implicit and explicit governmental support, the public space and social life of Iranian women has become tighter and less secure.

Some extremists with Daesh (ISIS)-like beliefs have been attacking Iranian women with acid to further control women clothing, monitor their personal life, and force women to abandon their public life. Sadly, the authorities arrest and put pressure on the activists to shut them off and extinguish their protests against these barbaric acid attacks. On the other hand, the parliament has approved a new religious legislation in support of “the promotion of virtue”, which aims at further suppressing the Iranian women, legalizing this criminal act, and issuing legal support for the extremists who exhibit their strength by suppressing , bullying and abusing Iranian women.

Despite the widespread reflection of the news of these barbaric acid attacks in the media, the authorities not only have not denounced these acts but also they have tried to ease the severity of these crimes. The authorities have also attempted to demonstrate these attacks as individual and unorganized actions. The opportunistic silence of some of the authorities with respect to an old legislation named “the plan of Hijab and dignity” encouraged the extremists and hardliners to legitimize their beliefs and enforce control over Iranian women.

This kind of violence against women is not different from what has been happening by Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan or DAESH in Syria and Iraq. We, the undersigned, are a group of human rights and civil rights activists with serious concerns about these situations and hold the judicial, governmental, and security forces accountable for the safety and wellbeing of the Iranian women. We ask the authorities: instead of threats, intimidation, and detention of the protesters listen to their reasonable requests for ensuring the safety and security of the Iranian women. We also ask them to put an end to preparation and adoption of anti- women legislations.

We demand the government to end the questionable silence and indifference towards the barbaric attacks and ask the security forces to establish security. The security force should be supporting the women protesting against acid attacks not threatening and arresting the protesters. We believe informing the citizens and increasing the sensitivity of the society in response to these attacks can ensure the rights of Iranian women. We support the widespread protests in Isfahan, Tehran, Mashhad, and  other cities against these barbaric acts and will do our best to protest against these acid attacks.

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