Statement of the Stop Honor Killings Campaign

On the eve of the anniversary of Mehsa Amini’s tragic murder and the initiation of the women’s liberation movement advocating for life and freedom.

Approaching the one-year mark since Mehsa Amini, affectionately known as Gina, was taken from us by the hands of Irshad patrol forces, we remember her. Mehsa, a 22-year-old young woman from Saqqez, fell victim to a brutal assault that left her comatose, eventually leading to her untimely demise three days later. This incident brought to light the distressing truth that the Islamic government engages in systematic state violence against Iranian women, all under the guise of upholding the hijab.

Mehsa Amini’s death was a turning point – the first instance where a woman lost her life due to the actions of the Irshad patrol. Regrettably, this was not an isolated event. In 2006, Dr. Zahra Baniyaqoub met a similarly tragic fate while in detention in Hamedan. Dr. Baniyaqoub’s life was cut short as a result of the severe beatings she endured, highlighting the dark reality of “honor” killings. These incidents, among others, underscore the deep-seated issues within the government.

Following Mehsa’s tragic passing, countless individuals took to the streets, rallying under the banner of “Women, Life” to denounce not only her death but also the pervasive anti-women laws and restrictions that have led to corruption and nationwide discontent. These peaceful demonstrations were met with violence – a horrifying crackdown that claimed the lives of hundreds, including innocent children. The very people who raised their voices were met with bullets, leaving many blinded or maimed. Thousands were imprisoned, subjected to various forms of torture, while even journalists who dared to report on Mehsa’s story found themselves behind bars.

The power of collective resistance temporarily drove the Irshad patrol off the streets, only to witness their return, often in plainclothes, alongside the regular police force. Women were brutally beaten upon arrest, all for the perceived crime of not adhering to a certain standard of “hijab.” Yet, even in the face of this oppression, the women of Iran continue to defy the Islamic government’s attempts to suppress them.

In a desperate bid to control civil disobedience, the Islamic government pushed forward the “Hijab and Chastity” bill, expanding its scope from a 15-article document to a 70-article one. This bill, devoid of clear legal definitions and explanations, introduces over 30 new offenses, subjecting violators to a range of punishments, from fines and curfews to job loss and bans on various activities.

The relentless actions of the Irshad patrol breed insecurity and inflict immeasurable mental, psychological, and physical harm upon Iranian women. Under the pretense of upholding Islamic Sharia principles, the Islamic Republic has perpetuated a culture of violence against women through discriminatory laws and practices, such as compulsory hijab, polygamy, and family custody laws.

We hereby declare the reinvigoration of the campaign against honor killings. We extend our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives while protesting the oppressive policies of the Islamic government. We call for the immediate release of all political prisoners and those detained due to civil disobedience.

We urge Iranian political entities both within and beyond the nation’s borders, as well as the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, to take decisive action. We implore the Special Rapporteur to condemn these flagrant violations of international law and human decency, and we beseech the Independent International Commission for the Discovery of the Truth to investigate and halt the inhumane actions perpetrated by the Islamic Republic. It is our collective demand that the government of the Islamic Republic revisits its policies, halts the implementation of the “Efaf and Hijab” law, and takes meaningful steps toward justice, equality, and freedom for all.

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