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Statement on the Occasion of the Presidential Elections in June 2009 in Iran

Thursday 30 April 2009

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The Coalition of the Iranian Women’s Movement for Viocing their demands in the Election

Over years, we, as part of Iranian women’s movement and civil rights advocates with diverse backgrounds; NGOs, political parties, various campaigns, media, trade unions and individuals had tried various methods and when necessary, had walked in unison to pursue our demands.

On the occasion of the forthcoming presidential elections in Iran, we are determined to form another broad coalition in order to once again put forward these essential demands. Our goal is to present our demands to the candidates. We neither support any specific candidate, nor interfere with the rights of citizens to participate or reject the elections.

The coalition of women’s movement aims:

  To divert the dominant state-machismo discourse towards a more conciliatory tone in order to address the needs of the civil society, especially women’s delayed demands.

  To attract the attention of the authorities and to their responsibilities to the public, especially the most deprived and marginalised sectors;

  To address the presidential candidates that if they require the votes of women, students, teachers and other social groups, they must include their needs and demands in their programmes.

  To show that even under harshest social and political conditions it is possible to be an effective and responsible citizen and press for a better and just society.

  To achieve these goals, we women must prove that we have the ability and the courage to seek all peaceful and civil avenues. Our past experiences had demonstrated that whenever a window of opportunity has opened for women, the misogynists had interfered and women had faced further discriminations, limitations and inhumane violence.

What do we women want?

  Equal rights as the essence of women’s collective demands and the elimination of all forms of gender, ethnic, religious and class discrimination. Iranian women of all social background share this common belief that social strata construct and effect gender relations. Hence, to achieve democracy, civil liberties and citizen’s rights, women have long fought shoulder to shoulder with men. Today, as in the past and along with other social groups and aside from our specific demands as women, we demand;

  The recognition of people’s freedoms as specified in the Constitution, including freedom of speech, assembly and else.

  To end pressures on women, students, teachers, workers, ethnic and religious minorities and individuals.

We are well aware that gender equality is a pre-condition to democracy, sustainable development and the creation of a society which is void of violence, poverty and injustice. Hence, we urge the presidential candidates to include our two main demands which we summarise as follows:

1- To actively pursue the re-joining of the Convention of Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

We are aware that this proposal was submitted to the Sixth parliament in the Seventh government (the first cabinet of Mohammad Khatami) and ratified by the members but was rejected by the Council of Guardians. This proposal was later presented to the Expediency Discernment Council, which the president was a member. We urge the presidential candidates to put this proposal at the top of their priorities with respect to the principles of equality and non-discrimination of citizens.

2- We endeavour to eliminate discriminatory laws against women, specifically Articles 19, 20, 21 and 115 of the Constitution with respect to the principle of unconditional gender equality. We are aware that the president has no power to change laws but we are also aware that if the government is committed to the principle of equality and views it as its responsibility, it is able to utilise its capabilities and to encourage the parliament to include the principle of equality in the Constitution.

What will we do in the future?

  In order to explain and expand our demand, we will do whatever action is necessary to reach the three levels; general public, civil society and the presidential candidates. The forthcoming elections have offered an opportunity for us to promote our demands in favour of women.

How can we do that?

Through our peaceful and collective actions, we will determine the future of this broad coalition and will invite and encourage groups and individuals to join us and to shape the future of this coalition.

The statement has been signed by the following groups :

Women’s Field

The Feminist School

Focus on Iranian Women

Women’s Commission of Tahkim Vahdat(Strethening Unity )

Committee of Human Rights Reporters

Farasoo Association (Tabriz)

Pars Women’s Association

Change for Equality in Isfahan

Campaign for One Million Signatures in Qom

The National Association of Women Enterpreneurs

Defenders of Women’s Human Rights

Mothers for Peace

Network of Volunteer Lawyers

Association of Women Enterprenaurs

Women’s Committee of Islamic Associations in East of Iran

Women’s Committee of Ahoorayi’s Childern of Iran

Women’s Department of Islamic Association of Sharif University

Committee of Women and Children’s Supporter

Campaign in Azerbaijan

Association in Support of Citizenship Rights

Campaign for One Million Signatures in Italy

Women’s Committee in Support of Human Rights in Germany

Art and Culture Center

Rahavard Association

Human Rights Committee of Islamic Associations in East of Iran

Iranian Refugees Council in Bremen

Independent Society of Iranian Women in Austria

Campaign for One Million Signatures in Austria

Network of Iran human rights defenders in Germany

Iranian Women’s Association in Montreal

— -

Shirin Ebadi, Simin Behbahani, Mehrangiz Kar, Shahla Lahiji, Shahla Sherkat, Azam Taleghani, Elahe Koolaee, Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani, Mansoureh Shojaee, Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, Shadi Sadr, Farzaneh Taheri, Shahla Ezazi, Banafsheh Hejazi, Rezvan Moghadam, Zhila Baniyaghoub, Nayereh Tohidi, Minoo Mortazi, Parvin Bakhtiar-nejad, Fatemeh Farhang-khah, Asieh Amini, Nahid Tavasoli, Haideh Mogheisi, Parto Nouriala, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Narges Mohamadi and 700 other women signed the statement. for Read the statement and view the individual signatures in Persian

To join in or sign this statement, please contact:

Email:activistwomenforum@gmail.com

Take Action

Sign the petition of one million signatures to end discriminatory laws against women.

- Sign petition (for support of Campaign for One Million Signatures)

- sign the petition (for release of women’s rights activists)


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