Amnesty International published a report yesterday, July 26, calling on the international community to stand with Iranian women and girls suffering intensifying repression.
Amnesty International’s report focuses on the clerical regime’s stepped-up efforts since mid-April to double-down on “oppressive methods of policing and severely oppressing Iranian women and girls for defying degrading compulsory veiling laws.”
Amnesty International also cited official announcements since April 15, 2023, indicating that “more than a million women have received text messages warning that their vehicles could be confiscated after they were captured on camera without their headscarves.”
The statement by Amnesty International added, “Countless women have been suspended or expelled from universities, barred from sitting final exams, and denied access to banking services and public transport. Hundreds of businesses have been forcibly closed for not enforcing compulsory veiling.”
Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said, “Morality policing in Iran is back. The authorities are not fooling anyone by removing the insignia of the ‘morality’ police from uniforms and patrol vans while emboldening the enforcers of the Islamic Republic’s oppression and subjugation of women and girls to engage in the same violence that killed Mahsa Zhina Amini with impunity. Today’s crackdown is intensified by mass surveillance technologies capable of identifying unveiled women in their cars and pedestrian spaces.”
The AI statement said, “On 14 June 2023, the spokesperson of Iran’s police announced that since 15 April 2023, the police have sent almost one million SMS warning messages to women captured unveiled in their cars, issued 133,174 SMS messages requiring the immobilization of vehicles for a specific duration, confiscated 2,000 cars, and referred more than 4,000 ‘repeat offenders’ to the judiciary across the country. He added that 108,211 reports on the enforcement of compulsory veiling laws had been gathered about the commission of ‘offenses’ within businesses and that 300 ‘offenders’ had been identified and referred to the judiciary.”
After noting the Hijab and Chastity bill which is under review in the mullahs’ parliament, Amnesty International noted the degrading punishments imposed on women who appear in public without headscarves.
“Amnesty International has reviewed verdicts issued against six women in June or July 2023 requiring them to attend counseling sessions for ‘anti-social personality disorder’, wash corpses in a morgue, or clean government buildings.
“This assault on women’s and girls’ rights is taking place amid a spate of hateful statements by officials and state media, referring to unveiling as a ‘virus’, ‘social illness’ or ‘disorder’ and equating the choice to appear without a headscarf to ‘sexual depravity.’”
Amnesty International called on the Iranian authorities to “abolish compulsory veiling, quash all convictions and sentences for defying compulsory veiling, drop all charges against all those facing prosecution, and unconditionally release anyone in detention for defying compulsory veiling. The authorities must abandon plans to punish women and girls for exercising their rights to equality, privacy, and freedom of expression, religion, and belief.”
AI Secretary General Agnès Callamard urged countries to facilitate granting refuge to Iranian women and girls, who escape gender-based persecution in Iran.
“The international community must not stand idly by as the Iranian authorities intensify their oppression of women and girls. The response of states should not be limited to forceful public statements and diplomatic interventions, but also involve the pursuit of legal pathways to hold Iranian officials accountable for ordering, planning, and committing widespread and systematic human rights violations against women and girls through the implementation of compulsory veiling. All governments must do everything in their power to support women and girls fleeing gender-based persecution and serious human rights violations in Iran, ensure they can access swift and safe refugee procedures, and under no circumstances should they be forcibly returned to Iran.”