March 15, 2005VOLUME 10
E-ZAN VOICE OF WOMEN AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM IN
To our readers,
March 8th, 2005, marked
the 94th anniversary of International Women's Day around the world. As
women in most countries have made progress in many areas, Iranian women are
still struggling for their most basic and elementary rights. WFAFI believes
Women and girls bare the brunt of
In October 2004, Khameini’s
hard-line paper, Jumhori Eslami,
reports on the strategy to use non governmental organizations (NGO’s),
especially the women’s organizations, to support and strengthen the security of
the Islamic Republic. The article recommends that the government should
infiltrate more in these organizations and groups to advance the agenda of
“National Security”. It also suggests organizations who are formed outside of
this framework should be considered as “enemies of
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and teenage girls comprise the majority of people in
"The most common form of suicide amongst women in Ilam is self-immolation, which is in protest to society dictating their lives to them", Pournajaf added. The number of attempted suicides is much higher. Pournajaf said that women and girls in particular find it hard to face society where misogyny and discrimination against women have been institutionalized by the clerical regime.
court dismissed the girl's claim that she was raped. It said she had sex of her
own free will, the official Iran Daily newspaper reported.
The girl was sentenced to 100 lashes because her accusations of rape and kidnap could have landed her partners a death penalty, the
Reporters Without Borders said it was appalled by the imprisonment of pregnant student, Najmeh Oumidparvar, 26 - wife of weblogger Mohamad Reza Nasab Abdolahi - who has been imprisoned in her turn, one week after her husband. Oumidparvar, who is three month pregnant, has her own weblog. She has been accused of defending her husband too openly. On the eve of her arrest she gave an interview to German radio Deutsche Welle. A few days earlier she posted on her own weblog a message her husband had written shortly before his arrest. In it, he claimed the right to express himself freely adding that he was "waiting for the police handcuffs". Plainclothes police searched Oumidparvar‚s home on the morning of 2 March 2005 seizing computers, CDs and every article written by the couple. She was arrested after the search. She was taken back to her home in the afternoon to collect some of her possessions. The authorities told her that she would have to stay in prison for at least ten days.
The office of Women’s studies and Research in Iran was set on fire while after hours. This office director, Shahla Lahiji told the Shargh newspaper that the arson was intentional and explosives were used to destroy her office. She indicated a motorcycle driver has broken the windows and used explosive to burn and destroy the document collected or produced by this office. The head of fire rescue also confirmed that the arson was intentional.
Agence France Presse
Iranian women have begun to outnumber men in the Islamic republic's universities, according to new official figures carried by the state news agency IRNA on Tuesday. The report said 50.68 percent of all students registered in universities between 2003 and 2004 were women. Recent years have shown women to be more successful in university entrance tests, but the trend has not translated to success in the employment market -- where women make up just 10.5 percent of the national workforce.
Agence France Presse
The Iranian women who wish to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, have two options: prove that the child is putting their own life in danger, or otherwise join tens of thousands who go through dangerous illegal procedures every year. Roya S., a 28-year-old woman from the Iranian capital Tehran, recounted how she nearly died in the process of aborting a pregnancy she didn't want, the report added. "I could neither financially nor emotionally afford to have a child. I was only married for two months and still living with my mother-in-law," recalled the 28-year-old woman.” But the doctor did a sloppy job. A month after the abortion was performed at his surgery, I started hemorrhaging horribly. It turned out part of the placenta had remained in my womb which would get infected and lead to my death if I did not have another operation.” According to this report, Roya eventually survived the ordeal, but emerged significantly poorer. In addition, the offending surgeon escaped any legal reprisal, given that if Roya filed a complaint she would have faced jail as well.” When you are desperate you have to entrust your life in someone who does not care and only pray not to get permanently damaged." Roya said. According to local press reports, at least 80,000 illegal abortions are carried out every year. But some believe the real figure could be far higher. "These cannot be exact figures, as the only statistics we have are based on reported complications. But these have dropped over the past years because there are more professionals doing a clean job," said gynecologist Malek Mansour Aqsa, a member of the states national family planning committee. "There is a good market tempting many doctors and midwives with good money and easy money. They are not even afraid of prosecution," Aqsa said. The performer of the abortion and the mother can be sentenced to three to 10 years in jail and have to pay blood money (the judicial price) for the child.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,
Mahboudeh Abbasgholizadeh is editor in chief of the Iranian women's magazine "Farzaneh" and a civil society activist. She has reportedly been charged with acts against national security and spreading propaganda. Fershteh Ghazi, correspondent for the Tehran daily "Etemad," had to be hospitalized shortly after being released on bail in December 2004. She suffered from poor physical and mental health. However, Iranian authorities have been clamping down on those who use the Internet to criticize the establishment. Last month, the Iranian judiciary sentenced Arash Cigarchi, a young Internet diarist -- or blogger -- to 14 years in prison for expressing his opinions. Human rights organizations and media groups have expressed concern that Iran is moving to silence freedom of _expression on the Internet. During the last eight years, more than 100 independent publications have been shut down in Iran, and the Internet remains the last outlet for freedom of _expression in the country.
exhibit focuses on plight of Iranian women
February 17, 2005
Normandi, a professional photographer, will be presenting "Behind the Veil," a series of photographs of women in Iran taken by journalism students from the University of Tehran. Normandi said he hopes the "Hejab Series," which runs from this Friday through Feb. 24 at Harper College, will show the human rights abuses that many women who are unwillingly forced to wear the hejab, or veil, face. "There's a lack of equal rights to education, employment, inheritance, movement and travel, self-determination," he said. "Women are always subordinate to any male in the family." Normandi, who moved from Iran to the United States in 1979, commissioned 10 journalism and photography students to take the pictures on his short visit to the country. "This has been done somewhat in a clandestine way," he said, since the government would not allow the project. He hopes the exhibit will move feminists in the country to focus on issues that often come up in other countries. "Especially in a conservative religious society, in some cases it's actual gender apartheid," Normandi said. "I recommend any activist who works for human rights issues to come in and see the photographs." The exhibit will also include explanations of the photographs, describing the different subjects, and the actual hejab that Irani women wear, so that participants can experience for themselves how the veil feels. Normandi's intent, though, is not to criticize the actual wearing of hejab. His focus lies on women who are forced into the lifestyle, especially, as the case is in Iran, girls at the age of 7 who must cover themselves. He believes that force is part of the government's intent to keep the women from gaining power. "If it's by choice, it's an act of democracy," Normandi said. "When you see the points of view of different photographers, you will find out many of them see (the hejab) as part of their life and their belief."
United Front Against Fundamentalism and for Equality meets in Paris
international conference entitled, "United against Fundamentalism and for
Equality," was held in Paris yesterday on the initiative of several
women's rights organizations to discuss the threat posed by fundamentalists to
women's rights and status. Over 1,000 political and human rights personalities
and equality movement activists from Europe, the United States and the Middle
East attended the conference. The event was sponsored by a number of
organizations and personalities, including Ballymaurphy
Women Center, Women's Trust, UNIFEM, National Association of Women's Organisations UK, European Network of Women, Collective
Respect, Union of European Feminists, Women in Movement, Feminist Transports,
Association in Solidarity with Kidnapped Mothers and Children, The Movement for
Peace, The International League of Women for Peace and Liberty (the French
section), Women for a New Europe, and the Association of Friends of Women Buses.
Seven female British parliamentarians, including Lady Herman, Chris McCafferty, Jane Griffiths, Julia Drown, Baroness Gould of Potternewton, Sandra Gildley and Valery Davey, were among the
sponsors. The keynote speaker was Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the
Iranian Resistance, who said, "The Tehran mullahs and those with stakes in
the status quo want us to believe that any serious change requires a foreign
war, and the only alternative to war is to make a deal with the mullahs. But
the Iranian Resistance believes that in place of 'appeasement or war', there is
a third option, which represents the real path to change: change brought about
by the Iranian people and Resistance". Rajavi reiterated, "The
decisive defeat of Islamic fundamentalist would be possible only through the
pioneering role of women. For this reason, we underscore the need for the
active and equal participation of women in political leadership".
Emphasizing that women's rights are universal, Rajavi noted, "No one could
use religious or cultural pretext or any other justification to distort women's
rights, which are as universal as human rights, and deny their totality".
She added, "Since the onset of their rule, the mullahs have not spared any
discrimination and oppression against women. On the contrary, they have
strengthened misogynous laws every year. Indeed, the pillar of all social
relationships and the laws of the state is oppression
and discrimination against women". Elizabeth Sidney, President of the
Women's International Federation against Fundamentalism and for Equality;
Francoise Héritier, a renowned French anthropologist
and an honorary Prof. at College of France; Meili
Faille, a member of the Canadian Parliament; and Emely
James, a distinguished scholar on child and woman prostitution, also addressed
the conference. At the end of the conference, Maria Farantouri,
a distinguished Greek singer performed for the audience. On the sidelines of
the Paris conference, an exhibition on the plight of women in Iran was also
organized. The National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella coalition of
Iranian opposition groups, has elected Rajavi to serve as the interim-president
of Iran during the transitional period after the fall of the current theocracy.
Separately on Thursday, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning
Iran's human rights violations and urged the European Union to sponsor a
separate resolution, censuring Iran in the United Nations. It called for the
appointment of a special representative be re-appointed
to monitor the human rights situation in
Young women and girls, aged between 16 to 25, sold in Pakistan on daily basis
Iran Focus -
March 2, 2005
least 54 Iranian girls and young women, between the ages of 16 and 25, are sold
on the streets of Karachi in Pakistan on a daily basis, according to report
outlining the latest statistics. The report also revealed that there are at
present at least 300,000 runaway girls in
Iranian women celebrate International Women’s Day “We will Win, Tomorrow Belongs to US”
Report from Tehran, Translated by WFAFI
March 4, 2005
On Tuesday March 1, 2005 the
sociology students at Tehran University arranged a gathering in the Shariati Auditorium to commemorate the International
Women’s Day. The title of the program was “We will Win, Tomorrow Belongs to US”
that included several speeches about the difficulties women face in Iran as
well as music, play and book displays. This program was enthusiastically
welcomed by the female students and the Shariati
auditorium was completely filled by. The program ended with a resolution
demanding the recognition of the rights of Iranian women. The first speaker was
Mrs. Roohbakhsh who spoke about the family laws and
the civil code. She stressed the fact that a woman does not have any
significant rights within an Iranian family. Women live in the shadow of their
fathers or husbands and are completely dependent on theses men. The civil codes
discriminate against women. The next speaker presented statistics on the
situation of women in Iran and stated that the Iranian women have fought for
their social and political rights for more than 100 years but their status has
not improved much. She mentioned that the root of the problem lies in the laws
and policies that clearly discriminate against women and they need to be changed.
The civil and Sharia laws prevent women from becoming
the president or a judge. The civil codes consider men as the breadwinners of
the family who should have control over it and women are their dependents. Do you think Islam approves the execution of
16 year old girls? She asked. Do you
think what happens in our country is really rooted in Islam? The true spirit of
Islam believes in the equality of men and women and recognizes their liberty,
responsibility and intellect as individuals. We want equality in all aspects of
our lives since we believe that progress is possible only through men and women
working closely and equally in the society. After the second speech a
children’s play portrayed the injustices and difficulties women face within their
families. The last speaker talked about prostitution in
-Women have a right to participate in athletic and artistic performances.
-Women have a right to choose what they were.
-Women must be free to choose their husbands and to marry or divorce.
-All the employment and retirement laws that discriminate against women must be abolished.
-The inequalities women face in testifying in the court, inheritance and child custody laws must be revoked.
-Any kind of sex trade and human trafficking of women should be forbidden.
-Polygamy must be illegal.
-Women must be free to participate in all the social and political activities without requiring anyone’s permission. Women should also be allowed to occupy any social and political leadership position.
-Since women face numerous discriminatory laws in the society, we must provide them with Equal Opportunity and positive discrimination in all the aspects of cultural and social arenas.
The commemoration of International Women’s
Women staged demonstration on International Women’s Day despite government’s ban
On the event of International
Women's Day, 1,000 women staged a demonstration at central
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