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End Violence towards Half the human population – DOIW

25th November marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and is a turning point in the history of women’s struggle for the elimination of violence perpetrated against them. Four Mirabal sisters, Patria, Minerva, Maria Teresa, and Dede) were active against Trojillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic. Three of the Mirabal sisters were brutally murdered by the order of the dictator. The United Nations has identified this day as the international day for the elimination of violence against women. Today 62 years from the killings, we witness similar brutality in the tragic killing of Mahsa Amini in Iran, our homeland, at the hands of the thugs of the Islamic Republic’s religious dictatorship. Her killing has turned into the rallying cry for the anti-dictatorship movement of the masses in Iran who are at the end of their tether with poverty, class division, and gender discrimination in our suffering homeland.

We commemorate this event at a time when most cities in our suffering country, especially in the Provinces of Kurdistan, and Sistan and Baluchestan (in south-eastern Iran) are in the third month of their life and death struggle against the misogynistic and dictatorial regime. As the protests continue countless men, women and scores of teens and children are killed in brutal assaults with pellets or live ammunition. The movement that started with the death in custody, of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, and as protest against the systematic gender-based violence, pivoted around women’s rights, and saw the extensive participation of the young, students, teachers and some layers of manual and intellectual workers, adopted the popular slogan ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’. The protests have shaken the foundations of the religious dictatorship and promises to cast political Islam to the dustbin of history.

Despite all this, the women of Iran have played a prominent role in the struggle against gender discrimination and various forms of violence, especially state violence by the patriarchal and misogynistic regime. Their initiatives adopting various forms of struggle, including the celebration of the international women’s day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ‘Orange the World’, have been impressive and admirable.

Today, the brave women and girls of Iran are at the forefront of the people’s movement against dictatorship and despotism, with the life-affirming and non-violent slogan, ‘woman, life, freedom’. The demand for the elimination of gender discrimination and oppression has become a central demand of the movement, and heralds a great achievement which signals the powerful consciousness of the women of Iran, demonstrates the correctness of Marx’s statement that ‘the freedom of society is not possible without the freedom of women’.

The popular movement that has spread to most cities and towns in the country, started with the protest at mandatory hejab, the symbol of inequality and systematic gender violence against women. It has now evolved and progressed, calling for the elimination of policies that humiliate, discriminate and are violent towards women, and aiming for the collapse of tyrannical and corrupt regime.

The brave women of Iran and all popular forces taking part in this movement are aware that the elimination of gender discrimination and the building of a society free from violence depends on the establishment of a just political, social, and economic system. For this reason, Iranian women see the solution in fundamental changes in the state, and the political, economic, and cultural arena, and the establishment of a national and democratic government. The have and continue to pay a heavy price in this struggle.

The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women condemns the increasing state violence and the killing of defenceless people, especially the killing of teenagers and children, unimaginable crimes that are still ongoing. DOIW is in solidarity with the people’s struggle to achieve a society free from poverty and violence, and the establishment of a popular government, in which all laws that currently undermine women’s dignity, are annulled immediately and replaced with progressive laws. Among these are:

The elimination of all forms of discrimination and prohibiting violence against women by expanding the discourse on the elimination of violence in the society at large, and having Iran join the International Convention for the Elimination of Violence Against Women,

The legal guarantee of women’s right to their bodies, including in cases such as abortion and the right to choose how to dress,

An end to the guardianship of men over women, the right to polygamy, and the right to unilateral divorce by men,

The abolition of all laws related to gender segregation and the restrictions on women’s education, employment, sports, and art,

Legal guarantee to the right of women to participate fully in economy and the country’s affairs, empowering women by creating suitable platforms for them to achieve economic independence,

The expansion of civil and non-governmental institutions and organisations that protect women’s rights,

The provision of free education for all,

Changing the age of criminal responsibility and the age of marriage for girls and boys to 18 years and prohibiting the marriage of children, banning executions including the execution of children,

Legal guarantee of equal rights of men and women in all arenas, including in employment, the right to travel, the free choice of a spouse, divorce, inheritance rights, the right to the custody of children in case of divorce, testifying before the court, and in the judiciary,

Equal pay for equal pay for men and women,

Centralised planning to create specialisms, and opening the way for women to access higher degrees in all fields, and to ensure parity with men in employment opportunities,

Achieving these demands, which are also manifested in the slogan, ‘woman, life, freedom’, depends on the broadening of the struggle of all battalions of the social movement.

May the united struggle of the free men and women of Iran be victorious in ending the rule of laws that are against women’s social and human rights, putting an end to violence, and for freedom, peace, social justice and preserving the environment!

Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women

24th November 2022