Statement on Protests in Iran
The Arlington Human Rights Commission expresses deep concern towards the escalating situation in Iran. All members of the Commission express solidarity with the people of Iran who have taken to the streets. Protestors from all walks of life, across socioeconomic levels have led demonstrations in large cities and in small towns. The protests are in reaction to the violent death in September of 22-year old Mahsa Zhina Amini after she was taken into custody by the Iranian morality police for wearing her hijab in an “improper” manner.
The latest reports indicate more than 300 fatalities over the past two months,including 43 children and 25 women. Dozens of protesters have been charged with “security-related” violations and face execution, including one person who has been sentenced to death. The Iranian government has also restricted internet access in an attempt to suffocate pleas for help and suppress proof of violence. This exacerbates the oppression that Iranian officials are forcing upon these women. These actions are direct violations of basic human rights, and defy the right to protection and safety. The retaliation against protesters is abhorrent and the extreme bravery of those who continue to demonstrate solidarity cannot be understated.
Women have been at the forefront of the current movement, as people chant "Zan, Zendegi, Azadi" which means "women, life, freedom". There is a long history of Iranian women taking to the streets to protest against injustice, with feminist activism playing a role during the Constitutional Revolution in 1906. Under the strict Islamic regime of Iran since 1979, women have been forced to wear the hijab and denied basic rights and freedom. The recent demonstrations are a continuation of periodic protests that have been carried out in Iran against repressive policies and injustices perpetrated by the authoritarian Iranian regime.
The current round of widespread protests lead many to believe that these are not just a demand for reform but an uprising to end the Islamic republic. There is justifiable anger amongst the international community about the delay in expressing solidarity by American leaders, especially by women politicians. Iranian people have also called for international leaders to sever ties with the Iranian regime.
The Commission would like to assure Iranians in the local community, women, and all who are impacted by this crisis that we stand in support with you.
Video accounts by Iranian journalists Masih Alinejad & Faranak Amidi
Video explainers by the Guardian, Al Jazeera, BBC
History of women’s protests in Iran: Gallery
Background about recent protests, in the New York Times & The Conversation
Rapper faces execution, protestors demand action from international leadership
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