Iran: appeal for solidarity:

Appeal Iran: A call for solidarity with and concrete action in support of the women-led protests in Iran

Women are both the spark and the driving force behind the wave of protests in Iran that have swept the country since the violent death of Mahsa Amini in a re-education centre for "inappropriate dress" and have led to massive human rights violations by state forces. We stand in solidarity with women's and civil society organisations fighting for the right to self-determination – including in Iran. In addition to solidarity, however, women in Iran also need concrete support. We therefore call on civil society organisations, governments and the international community to back up their expressions of solidarity with women in Iran with concrete measures.

Since 19 September 2022 Iran has witnessed a wave of protests directed at an oppressive regime in what some are calling Iran’s and possibly the world’s first counter-revolution led by women. Following the violent death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman of Kurdish ethnicity, in a re-education centre for “inappropriate attire”, women have been the spark as well as the motor for the current upheaval.

The rallying cry “zan, zendegi, azadi” – “woman, life, freedom” – echoes throughout the country. It is derived from the Kurdish feminist slogan “jin, jîyan, azadî” that has been part of the Kurdish feminist movement in Iran and in other Kurdish areas. Never before has it received such broad support across gender, age, ethnicity and class. But protesters and activists who take to Iran’s streets or raise their voices on online platforms face the risk of arrest, violence and death at the hand of state and non-state actors. Severe human’s rights violations have been widespread since the protests began.

As a feminist peace organisation, PeaceWomen Across the Globe is committed to women’s sustainable and visible peace work and to gender equality. We stand for and support an inclusive and positive peace based on inclusion on all levels of political participation and decision-making, the right to self-determination and equal access to rights and resources. An inclusive and just peace can only exist when human rights apply to everyone and when women can exercise their rights without fear of repercussions.

We stand in solidarity with women and girls, peace and human rights activists, allies and civil society organisations united in the struggle for the right to self-determination and inclusion worldwide – in countries from Afghanistan to Colombia, from Nepal to Ukraine. We therefore call on civil society organisations, governments and the international community to back up their statements of solidarity with the women of Iran with concrete action.

  • We support the initiative of the Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly, who invited other female foreign ministers around the world for a virtual meeting on 20 October 2022 to discuss the state of women’s and human rights in Iran, to coordinate efforts to increase their collective support for the Iranian people and to show “global solidarity for Iranian women and [to] tell the Iranian regime that the world is watching." We call on their male counterparts to join the women foreign ministers in supporting their efforts and in amplifying their message: "The Iranian regime must end all forms of violence and persecution against the Iranian people, including their brutal aggressions against women in particular.”

  • The call for solidarity receives even more urgency in the context of the 83. session of the CEDAW Committee taking place in Geneva until 28 October 2022. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) forms the basis for the legal and effective equality of women and men. The 189 states that have ratified the Convention have committed themselves to taking measures to put an end to discrimination against women in all its forms. All signatories must adhere to CEDAW’s provisions and implement effective measures for the protection of women in their countries as well as undertake diplomatic efforts to put pressure on countries that have not ratified CEDAW. These include the USA, Sudan and Iran.

  • The international community – including international civil society organisations, UN and EU member states – must openly and clearly condemn the violence being perpetrated against women and girls in Iran and against the men and boys who have joined them in their protest. They must follow up their condemnation with concrete actions of support and protection from violence.

  • We have seen it in other contexts: Once the media’s focus shifts and the political and public attention wanes the rallying cries of protesters are forgotten, and global support subsides. But the protest movement in Iran needs our continued support to turn its legitimate demands for a lasting societal transformation into reality.


PeaceWomen Across the Globe

Bern, Switzerland

27 October 2022