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February-10-05

United Nations Official Accuses Iran of Women's Rights Abuses

A United Nations human rights investigator accused Iran of sentencing women to death based on flimsy evidence and called on the Iranian government to abolish the death penalty. Yakin Erturk, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, asserts that “discriminatory laws and malfunction in the administration of justice result in impunity for perpetrators and perpetuate discrimination and violence against women,” reports Reuters.

Erturk found that Iranian women face psychological, sexual and physical violence in the home, but there are no laws to protect women. Women who have been raped face the punishment of adultery if they cannot prove that the rape happened. In addition, women who kill their rapist in self-defense are sentenced to death. Earlier this week the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize for Human Rights winner Shirin Ebadi said that “women in Iran are terrorized,” pointing to discriminatory laws such as a woman’s testimony being worth only half of a man’s, according to Voice of America.

Iran’s newly elected parliament has been imposing more restrictions on women’s rights and is denying efforts for gender equality and women’s inheritance rights. Two women were recently sentenced to death for so-called "crimes against morality.”

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Media Resources: Reuters 2/8/05, 2/6/05; Feminist Daily News 1/18/05; Voice of America 2/6/05

   

     

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