Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and Iranian-born actress and activist Nazanin Boniadi will brief an informal Security Council meeting on Wednesday. The United States and Albania are organising the meeting at the United Nations on protests in Iran. The meeting can be attended by all U.N. members.
Iran has been gripped by protests since the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody last month. The unrest has turned into a popular revolt by Iranians from all layers of society, posing one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.
The meeting at the United Nations on Wednesday aims to “highlight the ongoing repression of women and girls and members of religious and ethnic minority groups in Iran” and identify ways to promote credible, independent investigations into rights abuses in Iran, the U.S. mission to the United Nations said.
Iran on Monday urged countries not to attend a U.S.-organized meeting according to a letter seen by Reuters that accused Washington of politicizing human rights.
“The U.S. has no true and genuine concern about the human rights situation in Iran or elsewhere,” Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani wrote in the letter to U.N. member states. Iran has blamed its foreign enemies and their agents for the unrest.
Iravani’s letter comes a day after the world’s preeminent women leaders in business, politics, advocacy and the arts published an open letter in Sunday’s New York Times calling for the immediate removal of the Islamic Republicu of Iran (IRI) from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
Signatories of the letter include Sec. Hillary Clinton, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Media Leader & Philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate & Education Activist Malala Yousafzai, Economic & Political Leader Christine Lagarde, former First Lady of the United States & advocate of girls education Michelle Obama, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Executive Director of UN Women, Christiana Figueres DBE, former head of UN Climate Change Convention, former First Lady of the United States & Education Advocate Laura Bush, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate & Human Rights Activist Nadia Murad and women in leadership positions from 14 countries (and counting).
The open letter states: “We condemn the brutal violence of security forces against peaceful protesters …
The letter also laments the Islamic Republic of Iran’s record on women’s rights, citing gender inequality and legalized discrimination against women regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance, child custody cases and attire. These restrictions include the mandate that requires women to wear head coverings at the onset of puberty.
The signatories of the letter warn that the violence and loss of life will continue without global intervention at the highest levels, and that the Commission on the Status of Women will lose credibility each day the Islamic Republic of Iran remains a member.
“This is a critical moment for leaders in the international community to vocally and unequivocally demonstrate their support for women’s rights by standing in solidarity with Iranian women and girls,” states the letter.
(Additional Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by David Gregorio Reuters )