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Lack of Freedom of Assembly


The Global Persecution of Women

Human Rights


Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Article 26

All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.


Article 5

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures:

(a) To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women;


”Iranian Women Activists Arrested,” Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace, 13 March 2007.

Thirty-four of our colleagues and partners in the Iranian women's movement were arrested on Sunday, March 4 outside of Tehran's Revolutionary Court. They were staging a peaceful protest against the increasing government pressure on civil society activists and, in particular, the trial of five women activists charged with "endangering national security, agitating against the government, and taking part in illegal gatherings" because they had organized a peaceful protest for women's rights on June 12, 2006. Four of them who were present at the trial were arrested with the demonstrators as they were leaving the court.

There are varying reports of police violence at the protest. One woman said that the police tried to intimidate the activists, using obscene words and insulting gestures. The thirty-four women leaders were detained in Eshratabad Prison for ten hours before being transferred to Section 209 of Evin Prison. Eight of the youngest detainees were released without charges on March 6. The detention occurred just ahead of the planned gathering in front of the Parliament on March 8, in honor of International Women's Day.

"Iran: Police attack women's day celebration,” Women in the Middle East, April and May 2006.

Iranian police and plainclothes agents charged a peaceful assembly of women's rights activists in Tehran and beat hundreds of women and men who had gathered to commemorate International Women's Day. The attack took place shortly after participants in the celebration assembled at Tehran's Daneshjoo Park at 4 P.M. on Wednesday, March 8.

"The Iranian authorities marked International Women's Day by attacking hundreds of people who had peacefully assembled to honour women's rights. Plainclothes agents, anti-riot police and Revolutionary Guards surrounded the park where hundreds of activists gathered to mark International Women's Day.

Within minutes, after agents photographed and videotaped the gathering, the police told the crowd to disperse. In response, the participants staged a sit-in and started to sing the anthem of the women's rights movement.

The security forces then dumped cans of garbage on the heads of women who were seated before charging into the group and beating them with batons to compel them to leave the park. On the previous day, March 7, the Iranian interior ministry summoned several women's rights activists and warned them to cancel the gathering. The activists responded that the event is an annual celebration by many women's rights groups and that they were not organizing the event.

”Amnesty International: Condemning violence against women in Iran,” Women in the Middle East, April and May 2006.

Amnesty International condemns the violent action taken by Iranian police, Revolutionary Guards and others on 8 March to forcibly disperse about 1,000 women who had gathered peacefully in Tehran to commemorate International Women’s Day. Scores of women are reported to have been beaten by the police and those assisting them.

The women had gathered in Daneshjoo (Students) park, where they began a peaceful sit-in and displayed banners with slogans such as ‘discrimination against women is an abuse of human rights’, ‘women demand their human rights’, and ‘Iranian women demand peace’. Initially, there were about 100 police present but as the protest continued busloads more police and also members of the plain clothes Basij militia, and special anti-riot forces belonging to the Revolutionary Guards, arrived at the park. They filmed and photographed the women protestors and then ordered them to disperse, on the grounds that the gathering had not been officially authorized.

However, the protestors did not do so and at 4.20pm, after one of them read out a statement calling for greater rights for women, the security forces charged them and began assaulting them. Many were beaten with batons, some by teams of security men. For example, Simin Behbehani, an elderly feminist poet with poor sight, was beaten with a baton and kicked repeatedly by security forces. Journalists present at the protest who had filmed the event were reportedly arrested, only released from custody after their film and photographs were confiscated.

Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian government to undertake an immediate investigation into this excessive use of force by police and other security forces and to ensure that those responsible for the assaults and violence against demonstrators are brought to justice promptly and fairly. The organization is also calling on the Iranian authorities to respect the right to freedom of assembly and expression, in accordance with Iran’s obligations under international law.

The organization reminds the Iranian authorities of Article 12 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. This states that “Everyone has the right…to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The Declaration requires states to “take all necessary measures to ensure the protection…against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

” Eighteen Arab and Egyptian human rights groups condemn the attack on Iranian women and activists for celebrating Women's International Day,” Women in the Middle East, April and May 2006.

Several Arab and Egyptian human rights organisations condemned the use of violence by Iranian security forces to disperse a human rights gathering organised by independent women's groups and human rights organisations in Tehran in commemoration of International Women's Day on March 8th.

Some women's rights and human rights groups called for the gathering in the Student Park (Park Daneshjoo) in Tehran to commemorate International Women's Day, holding signs calling for stopping discrimination against women in Iran and calling for peace, justice, and democracy. However, security forces and the revolutionary guards in Iran, dressed in plain clothes, attacked them to disperse the gathering by force and several activists were arrested. This was in addition to preventing some foreign journalists and correspondents from covering the event by detaining some, confiscating their cameras, their films and photographs.

While the Iranian constitution allows for peaceful gatherings without a permit, Iranian security forces have been accustomed to violating and restricting this right, as was the case on International Women's Day in Tehran and in other Iranian cities.

The signatory organizations state that the use of excessive force to disperse a peaceful gathering of women holding banners calling for democracy and equality is disgraceful and inhumane. At the same time as women's rights activists have tried to continue their activities and practice their right to freedom of expression, they have been confronted with more violence perpetrated by Iranian forces

It is worth noting that the Iranian family law stipulates clear discrimination against women in Iran, by which a women after marriage becomes totally subservient to the man. The Iranian law does not give women rights except inadequate custody rights. In addition, Iranian women suffer from sexual and domestic violence with no effective legislative protection.

The signatory organisations demand the Iranian authorities to immediately release all those detained on that day and to hold a judicial and just investigation of all those involved in the attack perpetrated against the activists, putting the perpetrators before a court of law. In addition, the signatory organisations demand the Iranian government to stop all activities against freedom of expression.


The Global Persecution of Women