MP’s call for protection of women’s rights in Iran

MP’s call for protection of women’s rights in Iran

Published by on February 28, 2017

In an early celebration of International Women’s Day in the House of Commons today (28 February), a cross party group of members of both Houses of Parliament highlighted the systematic discrimination and marginalisation of women in Iran.

“The Prime Minister was right to warn about Iran’s malign influence in the region. She should equally stand up for women’s rights in Iran, where the theocracy’s institutionalised misogyny hampers millions of women from shaping the future of their country for the better”, Steve McCabe, the Labour MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak said.

Linda Lee, former President of the Law Society of England and Wales, who chaired the conference, highlighted the plight of several women activists in Iran including Maryam Akbari Monfared, Narges Mohammadi and Mansoureh Behkish. “These prisoners of conscience are being punished with long-term prison sentences either for their activities against capital punishment or for demanding those responsible for the mass killings during the 80s to be held accountable, including the known perpetrators of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988”, she said and called for their immediate release.

Speaking on behalf of her constituent, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is held prisoner in Iran on made-up charges under appalling conditions, the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Siddiq, said, “the way this British mother is being treated in the Iranian prison system is inhumane and totally unacceptable. The government must step up its pressure on the Iranian authorities for her immediate release so that she and her daughter can be reunited with their family in West Hampstead.”

Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan, the Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham, said, “I look forward to an Iran where all people can be treated equally and women play a full part throughout civil and political life.”

Panellists from both Houses of Parliament were also joined by solicitors, women’s rights activists and members of the Anglo-Iranian Community who called on the British government to take the lead on the international scene to pressurise the Iranian authorities to “eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of discrimination and other human rights violations against women and girls”, as demanded by the international community in the latest UN resolution on human rights in Iran.

Participants included, Baroness Harris of Richmond DL, Liberal Democrat member of House of Lords; Rt Hon Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet; Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham, Yardley; Mrs Louise Ellman, Labour (Co-op) MP for Liverpool, Riverside; Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE, Labour member of the House of Lords; Lord Alton of Liverpool, Lady Valerie Corbett, prominent human rights and women’s rights activist; Margaret Owen OBE, Director WPD and Human Rights Lawyer; Sue Willman, the Law Society Human Rights Committee; Dr Tahar Boumedra, former UN Human Rights chief in Iraq; and Azadeh Hosseini, president of the Anglo-Iranian teachers association.

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Abolish death penalty

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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