Iranian Women’s Rights Hero Refutes Regime’s Lies at U.N.

GENEVA, August 13, 2020 — When the misogynistic regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran told lies at the 44th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council about its record on women’s rights, we invited Shaparak Shajarizadeh—an Iranian former political prisoner who was arrested, beaten & jailed for opposing the forced hijab law—to tell the truth. Our video of her refuting Iran’s lies on women’s rights has been widely viewed and shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. See transcript below.

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Transcript:

Iran delegate:

Madam President,

Combating discrimination against women requires holistic approaches in dealing with changing world of work. Leaving no one behind in an increasingly connected world necessitates international solidarity and cooperation. There are certain factors that are generating more discrimination and inequalities. Unilateral coercive measures [U.S. sanctions] are surely worsening the overall economic situations of women in the world and violating their human rights.

I thank you, Madam President.

U.N. Human Rights Council President:

And we give the floor to United Nations Watch.

Shaparak Shajarizadeh:

Madam President,

Madam President, my name is Shaparak Shajarizadeh, and I am a women’s rights activist from Iran. I commend the Working Group for its report.

I thank you for your appeals calling for the release of women’s right lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh — who was my lawyer — and also for the release of women jailed in Iran for protesting the compulsory hijab.

Page 5 of your report addresses laws that discriminate against women. Iranian women have been victims of such laws.

For 40 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has used the hijab as a tool to repress women. The government and its followers routinely abuse, violate, and subjugate women. This has prevented Iranian women from having any important role in society.

Because I advocated for an end to this discrimination, I was arbitrarily detained — three times. I was interrogated, beaten, and thrown into solitary confinement. It was the most frightening experience of my life.

We really need support from the world. That is why I must ask the United Nations: one day after Nasrin Sotudeh was condemned to 38 years in prison, why did the UN Commission on the Status of Women elect the Islamic Republic of Iran as a judge of women’s rights complaints?

Thank you.

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