This fall, a coalition of Iranian women, along with Vital Voices Global Partnership and For Freedoms launched a campaign calling for the immediate removal of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) after the tragic death of Mahsa Jina Amini and ensuing protests. The following is a statement issued by the group in response to today’s vote by the Commission in favor of the IRI’s removal:
NEW YORK— Today the United Nations and its Member States heeded the call of Iranian women to remove the Islamic Republic of Iran from the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. Earlier this year, to the dismay of women’s rights advocates around the world, the Islamic Republic began a second four‑year term on the 45‑member entity that serves as the preeminent global body dedicated to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Today’s vote marks a pivotal step forward with the U.N. Member States removing a country from the Commission with an appalling record on women’s rights from its membership. Every day that the Islamic Republic of Iran was a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, the body lost credibility. As we previously stated in an open letter published in The New York Times, the IRI’s long‑standing, systematic oppression of women and the absence of tangible improvements after decades of engagement, should have disqualified them from election to the Commission on the Status of Women. Yesterday, Iranian women currently imprisoned inside the notorious Evin prison came out with tremendous courage in listing their names in support of this effort.
For decades, gender inequality and discrimination against women have been legally enshrined in the IRI. Under the regime’s penal code and other laws and regulations, Iranian women’s rights are severely restricted in marriage, divorce, inheritance and custody. In addition, they must comply with the IRI’s mandatory hijab laws from the onset of puberty.
Yet, the IRI was elected to the Commission on the Status of Women.
Today, we commend the Member States for upholding their duty to mandate and defend values that support gender equality and for standing on the right side of history by showing their outrage in the face of blatant state violence.
This is a critical moment for leaders in the international community to continue to vocally and unequivocally demonstrate their support for women’s rights by standing in solidarity with Iranian women and girls.
In solidarity with Iranian women and girls who are courageously demonstrating for their fundamental human rights, we condemn the brutal violence against peaceful protesters and the violence at the forceful hands of the Islamic Republic’s regime that includes executions, targeted attacks on women’s bodies, sham trials, mass imprisonment, sexual assault, beatings and torture.
To world leaders who are watching, we urge you to continue to meet the courage of the women leading this revolution and act within your realm of power and influence in favor of women’s rights, fairness and equality.
To the Iranian women who are on the ground continuing to fight tirelessly for basic human rights, we will continue to listen to you, support you, and boldly move in ways that provoke justice, fairness and equality for you and all women, all life and all freedom.
— Coalition of Iranian women leaders alongside Vital Voices and For Freedoms www.womenlifefreedom.today
About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Now celebrating 25 years since its founding, Vital Voices Global Partnership has directly invested in more than 20,000 women leaders across 184 countries and territories since its inception in 1997. Driven by the universal truth that women are the key to progress in their communities and nations cannot move forward without women in leadership positions, Vital Voices has provided early support for leaders who went on to become Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, U.S. Youth Poet Laureates, prime ministers, award-winning innovators, pioneering human rights defenders, and breakthrough social entrepreneurs, including Amanda Gorman and Malala Yousafzai. In an effort to advance and expand this work, in 2022 Vital Voices opened the doors to the world’s first global embassy for women, the Vital Voices Global Headquarters for Women’s Leadership. It is a first-of-its-kind space that allows for convening, innovation, planning, and action—all in the pursuit of serving women leaders who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges.
About For Freedoms
For Freedoms is an artist collective that centers art and creativity as a catalyst for transformative connection and collective liberation. By wielding the power of art, we aim to deepen and expand our capacity to interrogate what is and imagine what could be. Together, we seek infinite expansion.