Health of Iranian human rights defender deteriorates

The renowned human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi was transferred from a prison to a hospital due to health problems end June, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). Following the hospitalization, her lawyer Mohammad Behzadi-Rad expressed hope that she would not be taken back to the cell. Arrested in May 2016, Mohammadi (46) is serving a 16-year sentence for her public advocacy of women’s and human rights.

During his reelection campaign, President Rouhani criticized women’s marginalization in the economy and vowed to increase their presence in decision-making roles in his government. However, he did not select any female minister despite public expectations.

Human Rights Watch collected an abundant evidence discriminatory state policies, and hursh environment, where women are marginalized almost in all endeavours, including  economy to occupy only 16% of the workforce. The rate of unemployment for women is 20%, twice that of men.

However the discrimination is not limited by professional life and career, but under a pretext of ‘protection of family life’ women are also suffering from severe religious codes imposed on modern realities to block their mobility. In spite of the constant  criticism of international bodies, including the UN,  women can receive passport to travel outside the country only with a written permission of a father, a husband, or another male relative, performing as a caretaker. Under the civil code, a husband is accorded the right to choose the place of living and can prevent his wife from having certain occupations if he deems them against “family values.”

In February forty-five members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have sent an open letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urging her to call on Iranian officials to immediately release the women who have been arrested for participating in the  anti-hijab protests.

On 12 April 2018 the EU Council extended until 13 April 2019 its restrictive measures responding to serious human rights violations in Iran. These measures were first put in place in 2011.


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