Women are at the forefront of widespread protests in Iran, demanding human rights and freedom following the tragic death of 22-year-old Mahsa Zhina Amini who was violently beaten and arrested by Iranian morality police for wearing an “inappropriate” hijab that did not “properly” cover her hair.
As Iranian women and men take to the streets in protest, the government is cracking down. Dozens of protestors have been killed, with hundreds more injured. Internet access for most of the population has been cut off to prevent the world from watching the anti-government movement unfold.
Today’s protests build on a broader legacy of women’s activism – and government retaliation – in Iran which we have documented in a series of GIWPS events in Washington, London, and online highlighting the history of women’s rights in Iran and strategies for change. Three of our courageous Iranian speakers – Fatemeh Sepehri, Narges Mansouri, and Narges Mohammadi – remain in jail for their advocacy. We call for their immediate release.
Here’s how you can stand with Iranian women and promote human rights and democracy in Iran.
- Amplify Iranian women’s voices and the situation in Iran by sharing, posting, and retweeting information from trusted Iranian activists and organizations online. However, do not publish videos of protests in Iran without blurring or pixelating the faces of protesters, as the authorities use them to identify and detain protesters.
- Follow Middle East Matters, a youth-led organization founded by Georgetown student Bahar Ghandehari, for content to share. Start by sharing this post about what is happening in Iran and what you can do.
- Join demonstrations, protests, and solidarity movements online and in your city to let the Iranian government know that their human rights violations will not go unpunished by the international community.
- Call for the international community to ensure continued internet access in Iran and leverage private partnerships to increase access to satellite connections.
- Demand that your elected representatives and officials speak out against human rights violations in Iran. Contact your Ministry of Foreign Affairs and urge them to create an international investigative mechanism for Iran, as there are no domestic avenues for accountability inside the country.
- Join our calls for the immediate release of imprisoned Iranian women’s rights activists, including Fatemeh Sepehri, Narges Mansouri, and Narges Mohammadi.
- Call on women leaders who do not normally wear a hijab to refrain from covering their hair when they meet with Iranian leaders. For example, CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour refused to wear a hijab in a recently scheduled interview with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, leading to the interview being canceled.
Donate or create fundraising campaigns to direct resources to credible Iranian human rights organizations and support protestors on the frontlines, including:
- Masih Alinejad: an exiled women’s rights activist who is leading a campaign against the compulsory hijab
- @NFPmedia to maintain the internet
- @tooshehapp and Snowflake by The Tor Project to circumvent censorship in Iran
- @IranRights_org to keep track of all those killed in anti-government protests
- United For Iran to support its app, Gershad
We are grateful to Iranian women in our network for their leadership and their calls to action. We stand in solidarity with you.