Campaign Statement to Stop “Honor Killings” on the Occasion of November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Since 1981, November 25 (equal to the fourth of Azar in the Persian calendar) has been designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day is chosen to remind everyone of the collective determination to combat violence against women. Each year, from November 25 to December 10, which is Human Rights Day, is considered the “16 Orange Days” to allow countries to enhance their strategic plans for preventing violence and improving the lives of women.
Last year in Iran, following the state-sponsored killing of Mahsa (Gina) Amini by the morality police due to improper veiling, the Women Revolutionary Movement for Woman-Life -Freedom took shape. Women and girls, with their widespread presence in the relentless battlefield against governmental, domestic, traditional, sexual, and gender-based violence, added a golden page to the history of the women’s movement and inspired worldwide admiration. Despite severe suppression of women by the Islamic government, including arrests, heavy penalties, and blinding some protesters against governmental violence towards women, women in the capital and some major cities of Iran appeared unveiled against the 44 years of humiliating imposition of compulsory hijab to demonstrate to the Islamic government that they do not endorse the anti-women hijab law. However, women in Iran have paid a significant price for this path.
Following the disgraceful actions of the morality police and severe international criticism, it seems that the morality police has been disbanded. This time, the government, by deploying agents called veil enforcers in every neighborhood and street, engaged in social violence such as confiscating vehicles, imposing fines on women and girls for using public transportation, and physical and verbal violence against women advocating for freedom. The murder of Armita Geravand is another example of blatant violence against women for refusing to wear compulsory hijab.
Although violence against women is a global issue, in countries where women live under Islamic governments, violence against women has different layers. Discriminatory laws against women, the promotion and normalization of violence against girls, such as child marriages, forced marriages, childbearing, female genital mutilation, and domestic violence, are experienced doubly. At the global level, due to the rise of religious fundamentalism, we are witnessing an increase in violence against women and setbacks in the field of women’s rights, which women have fought for more than two centuries for gender equality and reproductive rights. Inequalities in power structures, culture, society, and the law expose women and girls to various forms of violence, resulting in physical, sexual, mental, and bodily harm to women and girls. To this day, countries like the United States, Iran, Somalia, Tonga, and Palau have not joined the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Last year, along with women’s resistance against petrification, especially the young generation who have taken their insight from a world devoid of age and color, we witnessed an increase in the number of femicides, especially in “honor” killings. Iranian women are seeking to tear down the Islamic laws, which consider men as the owners of their bodies and souls, and tear down the ancient traditions that protect them, and build a new world free of violence. The women of Iran have shown the Islamic government and to the men who until yesterday considered them their property and cultivation that they will not allow themselves to be “honored” by anyone and that no power has the right to control their bodies. Iranian women have firmly decided to reclaim their lost rights. In the Campaign to Stop “Honor” Killings, we march together to eliminate the most blatant form of violence and oppression that has taken the lives of many for centuries in the name of defending honor in Iranian society.
As we stand on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we loudly declare in unison: A woman is no one’s “honor”; no one is no one’s “honor.”