‘Being a woman is not a tool to humiliate or punish anyone’ Campaign

By Ramyar Hassani: 23.4.2013 – Kurdistan Tribune – Recently two men in Mariwan, a Kurdish city of Iran, were made to wear women’s clothing and paraded around the city. This brought rage from Kurdish people and the protests resulted in the formation of the ‘Being a woman is not a tool to humiliate or punish anyone’ Campaign. Activists spoke out forcefully and Kurdish male activists took photo of themselves in Kurdish women’s clothes as a gesture of solidarity with Kurdish women and to protest against gender discrimination by the Iranian regime.

Since the Iranian Islamic Revolution triumphed in 1979, gender discrimination has increased and more obstacles have been created against women as they face several types of illegal and inhumane oppression, although these are legalized in Iran.

In all Human Rights conventions, men and women are placed on the same scale and the emphasis is on working for gender equality and preventing discrimination, as proposed in the UN Charter, Article I, Chapter I, and in the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Convention.

The constitution of Iran talks about the same issues of gender equality and recognizes women’s rights and women’s role in society as equal to men’s, as stated in Articles III and XXI. That same constitution also highlights the importance not to asperse the dignity of anyone; meanwhile, however, forcing the two men to wear women’s clothing is an asperity to all women as the court did depreciate the status of women.

Kurdish women have suffered in Iran for decades; not only because of their gender and religion, but also as part of an ethnic minority. Since three decades ago, right after the Islamic revolution prospered in Iran, the Kurds have faced discrimination when demanding their rights, and Kurdish women are affected harshly due to being a part of Kurdish society.

Being tortured by regime agents because of having Peshmarga family members; rape during military invasion operations in Kurdish areas; accusations of enmity against God; compulsory Hijab in all public places; and compulsory marriage for virgin women in prisons before their execution by the Iranian regime – these are just some examples of oppressions and inhuman attitudes Kurdish women face in Kurdistan of Iran. Although this campaign started in protest at the verdict of one of the Iranian regime’s courts and its impact on women in Marivan, it has now branched out to all Kurdistan and condemned the court’s disrespect. As a result of this campaign, two things became clear: first, Kurdish society does not consider the place of women like the Iranian regime does; and second, once more the cruelty of the Iranian regime and its perspective on women’s issues and rights has been proved to the international community. Ramyar Hassani was born in 1987 in Sanandaj -Sena. He has worked as a journalist and also as a human rights advocate in Latin America and Kurdistan in the field with CPT, an international human rights organization. He is an integral member of English section of Human Rights Activists News Agency – HRANA – which covers current human rights violations in Iran.