Solidarity with the Women of Iran

December 9, 2022

By Bella Bakeman ’25

image of Albion College rock painted in solidarity with the people of Iran

Albion College rock, image courtesty of Egshiglen Batjargal

Protesters are being sentenced to death in Iran. These death sentences violate multiple inalienable rights they are entitled to according to the International Bill of Human Rights. Among them are the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, freedom from discrimination, the right to be treated with humanity in detention and the right to life. To prevent further violations, the compulsary hijab law should be abolished.

Iranian human rights have been violated in the following ways: protesters have been killed and sentenced to death, women have been prosecuted for expressing their anti-hijab law beliefs, women in Iran are being discriminated against for what they choose to wear, and some of those detained for exercising their human rights have died in detention.

In 1979, recently elected dictator, Ayatollah Khomeini, announced that women should only be allowed to enter their place of business if they were compliant with the hijab dress code. Since then, there has been civil unrest regarding the compulsory hijab law with professional Iranian women losing their jobs for protest involvement.

Iranian women protesting compulsory hijab law in 1979

1979 Iranian Women Day’s protest of the compulsory hijab law (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Public Domain).

Since July, Iranian women have been targeted by the Morality police more than ever before. In response, they have stood up in protest against the law that compels them to wear a jihab in public. The compulsory hijab law violates the prohibition on discrimination, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (including the right to change one’s religion), the freedom to participate in culture, the right to work and the right to education. These rights are ensured by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On September 13, Mahsa Amini was arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly. The Morality police reportedly did not explain the reason for her detention, only that it involved the long-debated hijab rule. According to Amini’s mother, her daughter was in compliance with the rules but was arreseted anyway.

Iran’s security forces claim that Amini suddently collapsed from a heart attack. Before she was rushed away in an ambulance, she was held at a detention center where she received educational training about proper hijab wearing. Amini’s family stated that she was healthy prior to her arrest and her brother has stated that her screams could be heard from outside the detention center.

Mahsa Amini was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, to be induced into a coma. She laid unconscious in a hospital bed with tubes in her mouth and nose, blood oozing from her ear and bruises around her eyes. These are not the effects of a heart attack. She died in that hospital. Her rights were violated on multiple counts, in many ways. Most directly, her right to life. She has become a symbol for all women across Iran who have their rights violated.

Mahsa Amini’s death ignited the flame of protest in millions of women. Protesters have cut their hear and burned their hijabs in a demonstration of their anger. Recently, school girls and students have marched through the streets holding up their scarves. The Iranian government has sentenced protesters to death, has arrested people en masse, and reportedly killed hundreds.

According to Iran Human Rights, protesters have been killed during demonstrations. Protests have been ongoing for months with no evidence of stopping. Protests and demonstrations will not stop until change is made.

People have taken to the streets throughout the word to support Iranian women and their rights and freedoms. Protests are unlikely to stop until justice is served.

Demonstrates hold signs with Mahsa Amini’s face in London as they protest against the mandatory hijab law in Iran (Photo courtesy of Garry Knight)

Those who are unable to protest are fighting for change in other ways. You can join them.

Take Action! Help Iranian women and girls in their fight for equity.

  1. Donate to the Iranian American Women’s Foundation
  2. Donate to the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance to Iran
  3. Share the stories of Iranian women on social media using the following hashtags: #iranprotests #freeiran and #human rights.

“Iranian girls and women are protesting discriminatory rules and calling for wholesale change to achieve their fundamental rights and freedoms. The Iranian authorities – and the world – should listen,” said Human Rights Watch.

Iranian men, women and children are demanding change and risking their lives for the fulfillment of their human rights.

If you want to do more to protect the right to protest in Iran and other places around the world, you can participate in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign. Write a letter of solidarity to a person unjustly detained for exercising their human rights or write to the decision-makers who have the ability to free them or improve their circumstances. Your letter can change a life!

Bella Bakeman ’25 is a Secondary Education English major and Political Science minor from Berkley, Michigan. A student of human rights, Bella is deeply concerned about the human rights of people in Iran.

The views reflected here are the author’s own and not necessarily those of Albion College.