GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, 15 September 2023—Human Rights Activists (HRA) is at the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in commemoration of Mahsa Jina Amini and the historic “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests that followed her death in detention just one year ago.
On Friday, Skylar Thompson, HRA’s Director of Global Advocacy and Accountability, participated in a side event “A Year of the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement” hosted by the IHRDC where she discussed the wide-ranging implications of Iran’s new Hijab and Chasity bill, namely the grave concerns of the newly vested authority handed to the Basij forces throughout the country. Thompson stated, “The expanded power of the Basij under the new bill is particularly concerning. Historically the Basij have played a significant role as a volunteer force under the IRGC. The bill upon implementation would grant a significantly enhanced law enforcement role, essentially allowing the group to act as moral police touching every facet of society and even in online platforms. This translates to an unprecedented authority.” She went on to note that, “While the bill itself is alarming, it is coupled with the fact that [we] are dealing with grave due process concerns, meaning that should a woman tried in connection to these violations will likely not receive a fair trial. This development must be closely monitored.”
Throughout the week, HRA has met with key Member States, partners in civil society, the United Nations Independent International Fact Finding Mission on Iran (FFMI) and other relevant United Nations human rights mechanisms to highlight the worsening human rights conditions in Iran and call for the widespread condemnation of the recently passed Hijab Bill in solidarity with Iranian women, girls, and men who support them.
In preparation for the upcoming review of Iran, HRA, alongside partners, has provided a formal written update to submissions to the Human Rights Committee which is due to review Iran in early October. HRA has provided an update specific the situation of the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, media freedom and the safety of journalists, the freedom of expression online, the right to privacy, the situation of human rights lawyers and defenders, and the access to information.
HRA remains dedicated to pursuing justice and accountability for all Iranians, advocating for domestic judicial reform that is in line with Iran’s obligations under international human rights law. HRA continues its mission to amplify Iranian voices on the global stage, ensuring that despite the regime’s efforts, the voices of Iranians taking to the streets will not be silenced.