It is Time to Remove the Islamic Republic from the UN Commission on the Status of Women
The Islamic Republic is a gender-apartheidist regime that uses stoning, rape, and execution to enforce its policies. This barbaric approach to gender policy development and implementation should have no seat at the table where global gender policy is set. The only seat on the world stage that the Islamic Republic should occupy is one in front of an international court of justice.
On July 9, 2010, Mohammad-Javad Larijani, chief of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, issued a statement saying that the sentence of stoning against Ms. Ashtiani for the alleged and non-criminal act of adultery still stands. Larijani defended the legitimacy of the practice, saying, “Stoning to death exists in our constitution and our judiciary cannot change its course just because of pressure and campaigns by the West.” While calling Ms. Ashtiani a “criminal,” he again insisted that the sentence of stoning was rare, suggesting that in this case the sentence was exceptionally deserving.
By this statement, the Islamic Republic defends its barbaric and misogynist practice of stoning, which is primarily implemented against women. It also proves itself a liar about the extent of its illegal pratice of stoning: There are currently 12 women and 3 men known to be on death row under sentence of stoning; it is believed that there are up to 50 people awaiting a stoning execution – hardly a rare sentence.
According to sources, this was the last picture Elnaz Babazadeh uploaded as her Facebook profile picture. Photo courtesy of Persian2English
During the same week, the Islamic Republic’s paramilitary apparatus, the basiji, extended their recent crackdown on women’s appearance to the ultimate degree. In Tabriz, the same city where Sakineh Ashtiani is imprisoned, basij forces stopped a 26-year-old female motorist because she was not following the Islamic regime’s dress code (hijab). The woman, Elnaz Babazadeh, resisted the basijis orders to conform to the dress code. Three of these agents of the government responded by jumping into her car, threatening her with a gun, and then raping her. She was then executed and her body was dumped near a cemetery. This unspeakable tragedy is compounded by the fact that it is not an unusual occurrence in the Islamic Republic.
The stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and the extrajudicial rape and execution of Elnaz Babazadeh are representative of the Islamic Republic’s approach to social and gender policy in Iran. Stoning prior to execution and rape prior to execution are gendered tools that are intended to send a terrorizing message specifically to women, who have always been the first target of the Islamic Republic regime.
The use of stoning and rape to enforce a gendered-apartheidist policy is barbaric and has no place whatsoever in a modern world; as both rape and stoning are forms of torture, they are also illegal under international law. The Islamic Republic’s disproportionate levying of the stoning sentence against women, and regular use of rape in prisons and on the street, underscores the political and gendered nature of these human rights atrocities, and the regime’s defense of the practice of stoning on Constitutional grounds places it in direct opposition to numerous UN agreements and jus cogens elements of international law, including the Convention Against Torture and the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights.
Such a regime has no place at the table when it comes to setting global gender policy in the 21st century. By defending the practice of stoning, the Islamic Republic has itself publicly and on the global stage provided the basis upon which the world must insist that it be immediately removed from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
It is time for governments around the world to stand up and speak out on an matter that they once silently condoned: the Islamic Republic must be immediately removed from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
This is our demand.
We reiterate this demand in the name of all victims of stoning, rape and execution, judicial or extrajudicial, in the Islamic Republic, and all those awaiting stoning and execution in the prisons of the Islamic Republic, including Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, Zeinab Jalalian, Azar Bagheri, Ashraf Kalhori, and Shammameh Ghorbani.
Mission Free Iran
July 11, 2010