Briefing - House of Lords Debate on Iran - 21 December 2022
WOMAN, LIFE, FREEDOM
The Iranian authorities’ deadly repression of the ongoing popular uprising in Iran, which erupted after the death in custody of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini on 16 September 2022, is the latest in the cycle of violent attacks waged by the authorities against people expressing their legitimate grievances since December 2017. Nationwide protests led by women and girls under the rallying call ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’, quickly mushroomed to include broader grievances against a government steeped in decades of impunity and human rights violations. Women in Iran faced institutionalised discrimination in law and practice, including in relation to marriage, divorce, employment, inheritance and political office.
Iran’s discriminatory compulsory veiling laws have violated women’s rights for decades, leading to daily harassment, arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment of women and in the case of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, her death. Amnesty International has called on Iranian authorities to end their persecution of women who speak out about compulsory veiling, and abolish the discriminatory and humiliating practice. Iranian authorities must immediately repeal Article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code (any act that is deemed “offensive” to public decencies is punished with an imprisonment term of 10 days to two months, or 74 lashes), and abolish discriminatory bans on women’s appearance in public without out a headscarf.
The breifing attached outlines our Recommendations to the UK Government and questions to raise awareness at the debate tomorrow.