Saturday, June 10, 2006

Four Nobel Winners Support Women’s Rally

Omid Memarian, Rooz Online:
Iranian men and women against legal discrimination of women plan to hold a rally in Tehran on June 12th, 2006 to demand banning polygamy, ending men’s uncontested right to divorce, equal child custody rights, equal rights in marriage, the increase in the legal age of children to 18, and the elimination of temporary work contracts, among others.

Five women Nobel Peace Prize winners Shirin Ebadi from Iran (2003) Judy Williams from the United States (1997), Betty Williams from Ireland (1976), Wangari Muta Maathai from Kenya (2004), and Rigoberta Menchu Tum from Guatemala (1992) have supported this rally by signing the public call. In their statement the women express their solidarity and support for Iranian women in their struggle to gain equal rights under the existing laws and regulations in Iran. READ MORE

Iranian women plan to sign a petition calling for equal rights in Iran and then through their connections and influence and civil institutions pursue the issue. Following the announcement of the rally, a number of Iranian women activists have been summoned to the offices of security and intelligence agencies in Iran. Similar summons preceded the March 8th international women’s day rally in Iran where officials requested the organizers to cancel their rally as it was legal because it did not have a permit from government authorities. But women have challenged the government’s position by arguing that article 27 of the current Iranian constitution negates the need of a permit for a peaceful demonstration. A similar meeting was held last year where a communiqué was issued at the conclusion of the rally. This year, the organizers plan to read out last year’s communiqué and talk of progress made on the demands. Last year’s demonstration was considered to the largest women’s rally since the hijab rallies in the early days of the Islamic republic after 1979. In the history of women’s movement in Iran, last year marked a turning point as the many organizations and groups active in women’s issues, formed a single platform and formed a coalition on at least a series of common goals. That has paved the way for stronger cooperation among them.