Denounce Discriminatory Bill that Threatens Women’s Rights

by Kian Elyassi Bakhtiari

Target: Ali Ardashir Amoli Larijani, Head of Parliament

Goal: Prevent the passage of a bill that would seriously undermine women’s rights in Iran.

Legislation is being considered in Iran that is discriminatory against women and has the potential to subject women to domestic violence and other unsafe situations. The bill makes it hard for women with children to find a job and also makes it difficult for married women to demand a divorce. Sign the petition and demand that Iranian lawmakers respect women and protect their safety.

The Comprehensive Population and Exaltation of the Family Bill is aimed at increasing Iran’s population by encouraging marriage and childbearing, especially for people under 25. However, the bill includes a number of discriminatory and downright dangerous measures for women. For instance, married male job seekers, especially those with children, are given priority hiring over women with children. No single person, either male or female, is permitted to become a teacher or practice family law.

The bill also reinforces Iran’s double standards regarding divorce. Under current law, men do not have to provide reasons for wanting to divorce their wives, whereas “women must prove that they are living in conditions of severe hardship that make the continuation of marital life intolerable,” Amnesty International reports. The new law would provide lawyers and judges who prevent divorces with incentives, such as bonuses and positive performance reviews. This adds another stumbling block to the divorce process for women who seek to leave their husbands, as they cannot be assured of impartiality from the professionals undertaking their cases.

However, perhaps most frighteningly, the new laws would make it much more difficult for domestic violence victims to leave dangerous situations. Proposed measures include settling “family issues” in a non-judicial setting and instituting a police force of “married, mature, and well trained” officers to help bring about reconciliation between married couples. In many instances, “reconciliation” could put domestic violence survivors at great risk of re-victimization.

Iran has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), both of which prohibit job discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, and parental status.

A grave injustice is being committed against the women of Iran. Stand with them and demand fair and equal treatment for all people, regardless of marital status, parental status, or gender.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ali Ardashir Amoli Larijani,

I am writing to express my concerns over the Comprehensive Population and Exaltation of the Family Bill and what it will mean to women all over Iran. I am very worried that the bill, while often well-intentioned, will put women at risk and violate their rights.

I am concerned about putting job-seeking women below married men, especially men with children, when it comes to hiring priority. Also, it is unfair to prohibit unmarried men and women from teaching or practicing family law. Such laws would violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), both of which Iran has ratified.

Furthermore, when it comes to divorce, both men and women should have an equal say in separation. This bill will not allow women an easy escape when it comes to divorce and domestic violence.

I urge you to take a careful look at the bill and to consider all possible repercussions of its proposed measures. I demand that you respect the rights of Iranian women and deny this proposed bill.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: kian Elyassi Bakhtiari

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