March in Europe Demands Abolition of Anti-Women Laws in Iran

Revolution #038, March 12, 2006, posted at

The Campaign for the Abolition of All Misogynist, Gender-Based Legislation & Islamic Punitive Laws has organized marches and demonstrations, from March 4-8, starting in Frankfurt, Germany and ending on International Women's Day, in The Hague, Netherlands.

This campaign, launched in March 2005, has united a core group of hundreds of Iranian and international women activists and personalities who have long been fighting for women’s rights, including some who have spent many years in the dungeons of the Islamic Republic.

The A World to Win News Service wrote: "The campaign’s call for the abolition of these laws and its overall stand has the potential to unite the majority of the women while at the same time targeting the heart of the religious regime. The success of this campaign can be a strong blow to the IRI [Islamic Republic of Iran] since it targets the very foundations of this theocratic state. Furthermore, since these laws have their roots in centuries-old traditions, the struggle against them is a struggle against these traditions and the prevailing social relations they are based on. And this would encourage women and the whole society to fight for higher goals." (For the full article, see: European March for Women’s Liberation in Iran)

The following call and statement, issued by the campaign, have united people fighting for women’s rights in Europe and elsewhere in the world, Iranian women’s groups and individual activists, academicians and artists in exile, and a broad array of Iranian opposition movements in exile, from communist and labor movement activists to progressive democrats.

Call to Join the Great Walk Against Anti-Women Punitive Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic on March 8th 2006!

If you are against death by stoning!

If you are against forced veiling!

If you are against prosecution and imprisonment of women!

If you are against lashing a woman’s body!

If you are against any form of patriarchy!

If you are against all the medieval laws of Iran’s Islamic Republic of Iran imposing inequality against women!

Join the great walk against anti women laws in Iran’s Islamic Republic on March 8th 2006!

For over 25 years one of the most anti women governments of the world has ruled Iran. A government whose fundamental existence is based upon oppressive laws securing domination of women.

For over 25 years Iranian women have struggled and resisted against poverty and injustice in the political, cultural and economical aspects of life . Women have endured being lashed, stoned to death , jailed, tortured and executed, but they have not surrendered to the medieval laws of Iran’s Islamic Republic.

March 8th 2006 is a time to show, once more our solidarity with the relentless struggles of Iranian women. We should make this day, a day for expressing exciting and magnificent exhibitions of solidarity against the anti- woman system of Iran’s Islamic Republic.

We, the women of the "Campaign for the abolition of all Legislation confirming inequality and imposing Islamic punishment on Iranian Women", will observe International women’s day, by organising a great walk from Germany to Holland.

This rally is the right place for :

Any woman, who feels brutalised by hearing news that her sisters are stoned to death in Iran.

Any woman, who has felt the bitterness of punishment by lashing simply for defending the right to choose her own clothes.

Any woman, who refuses to surrender to inferiority and inequality.

Any woman, who fights for the right to control her own body.

Any woman, who is struggling for the right to determine her own destiny.

Any woman who believes in a woman’s right to divorce, the right to travel, the right of choice, the right of custody and all other basic human rights.

Any woman, who is not willing to submit to the medieval laws of the Islamic Republic.

Any woman who wants to abolish the interference of religion in all aspects of political and social life, in particular when it concerns women’s lives.

In this rally, there is a place for all freedom loving women and men, all political and progressive and revolutionary forces, who want equality between men and women in every aspects of life, a place for all those who oppose gender discrimination in any form.

Freedom loving men and women!

Your active participation in this walk will resonate the voice of the just struggles of Iranian women. We want this voice to be heard throughout the world, and we want to mobilise the International women’s movement against world Imperialism, the main protector of male chauvinism in every corner of this world.

Let us play our role in burying this medieval regime, by joining in solidarity with the struggles of Iranian people.

Let us pay our respect to the needs and demands of Iranian women whose struggles have become the shining example of these struggles. No doubt the degree of progress and freedom in any society is measured by the rights and liberty of women in that society.

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Statement of the Campaign for Abolition of all Misogynic Gender Based Legislation & Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran

To all women who suffer from inequality

To all activists and organisations of the Iranian women’s Movement

In the last 26 years, Islamic legislation has deprived Iranian women of the most basic human rights. Forced veil has reduced women to second class citizens. Honour killing is legal and women are condemned to hanging and death by stoning for ‘unchaste behaviour’.

Forced segregation has lead to women’s isolation, reducing their role in society. The youth are deprived of free association . Homosexuals are pursued as criminals. Polygamy and temporary marriages (Sigheh) are not only legal but they are promoted by the state.

Legislation regarding marriage and divorce, has deprived women of a free choice in finding a spouse, the right to have children, the right to become guardian of their own children, the right to choose employment, the right to work or not to work, the right to travel.

For 26 years, the Iranian theocratic state has secured the imposition of all these anti women laws with street vigilantes, courts, prisons, hanging and stoning to death.

It is 26 years that deprivation from basic rights has made women’s lives hell. Addiction, prostitution, suicide, self-immolation are increasing at a frightening rate amongst women.

For the last 26 years, our struggle against inequality has taken many forms. In the streets, in the first demonstrations against forced veil, in prisons and under horrific torture, when young prisoners were raped so that they would not ‘ascend to heaven’. Iranian women have fought daily against security forces who attack them for ‘insufficient veil’, in the corridors of divorce and custody courts, against sexual discrimination in schools and universities… We have fought in so many ways to prove our existence, against these anti-women legislations and the prevailing patriarchal culture.

In recent struggles, we have made sure the world remembers Zahra Kazemi1, we have delayed the death by stoning of Hajiyeh and we have managed to obtain the release of Afsaneh Norouzi form prison. However as long as the unequal, anti women legislations remain, women will not escape slavery. As long as these laws exist, women like Atefeh will be executed, others will be stoned to death like Shahgol.

These enslaving laws are the pillars of the religious state in Iran. These laws and all the repressive organs guaranteeing their implementation make sure women are held down completely. Without the abolition of these laws, the separation of state and religion is meaningless. It is up to every free minded person to raise her/his voice against these anti human laws and to struggle for their abolition. The battle to abolish these laws is a struggle to overthrow Iran’s Islamic regime and for the establishment of a different order, where women’s equality in all aspects are recognized and guaranteed.

When these medieval laws were passed, when they forced the veil on our heads and when they executed political opponents, Western governments watched in quiet satisfaction. Now that our struggles have forced the regime to retreat, now that we have made the world hear our voices, they falsely claim support for us. The experience of women throughout the world, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq has proved that the current political, economic and military powers of the world offer nothing but more poverty and exploitation. Everything we have achieved so far has been through our own efforts and it will be the same in thefuture.

Let us join forces and create a powerful united campaign to eradicate these unequal laws and Islamic punishments against women as soon as possible. Let us make our voice in opposition to these laws heard throughout the world. Let us create such a storm that no one would ever dare impose such retrograde laws on us.

Signature: Campaign for Abolition of all Misogynic Gender Based Legislation & Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran


1. Zahra Kazemi is an Iranian-Canadian reporter who was killed while in the custody of Iran's Islamic regime.

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