HomeIran News NowIran Opposition & ResistanceLive Updates: Women of Iran Supported at International Women's Day 2016 Conference

Live Updates: Women of Iran Supported at International Women’s Day 2016 Conference

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi arrives at the conference titled “Pledge for Parity: Women United Against Islamic Fundamentalism.” The event is just starting now. Mrs. Rajavi receives a standing ovation as she enters the hall to take her seat on the stage. She greets her supporters and the international women’s rights champions who have joined her.

8:45 P.M. Paris local time

The conference ended with a performance by the Albanian Orchestra and a closing speech by Linda Chavez who told the audience of the support she has received throughout the day. She said: “We must keep up the fight, and in Mrs. Rajavi’s words, we can and we must.”

8:20 P.M. Paris local time

Sara Chandler, President of the Human Rights Commission of the Federation of European Bar Association, said that we should ALL be protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

8:00 P.M. Paris local time

Marjan, renowned Iranian singer who once imprisoned in Iran but later escaped the country, performed for the audience in the International Women’s Day 2016 event. She now sings to be the “voice of voiceless” particularly the Iranian women who live under the yoke of the misogynist mullahs ruling Iran.

7:40 P.M. Paris local time

First to speak from the Albanian delegation was Drita Avdyli, Former Deputy Minister and current Chairwoman of the National Chamber of Mediation, who expressed solidarity with the women of Iran who are fighting against one of the most difficult dictatorships of all time. She recounted to the audience her pride in being one of the first people in Albania to welcome Iranian refugees and said that she joins the Resistance in their fight until the day Iran is free.

Diana Culi, writer, journalist and politician, called the women of Iran her “heroes”. “Don’t give up” she pleaded to the women of the world.

Sevim Arbana, founder of the organization “Useful to Albanian Women” (UAW), empathised with the women of Iran as she knows what it is like to live under a dictatorship, but called on them to keep up their courage as change is possible.

7:15 P.M. Paris local time

A delegation of young people then joined the stage. Naghmeh Rajabi has lost loved ones in the hands of the Iranian regime – Afsaneh Rajabi, executed at the age of only 22 and Zahra Rajabi who was assassinated by Iranian regime’s agents on February 20, 1996 while helping the Iranian refugees in Turkey.

Despite being very young when she was forced to flee Iran, Rajabi remembers clearly the restrictions imposed on Iranian girls and women under the name of Islam. Today, she can see that the situation has become much worse as women are vulnerable to being raped, risk execution for defending oneself against an attacker and at risk of becoming the victim of an acid attacks for daring to speak their mind or dress as they please.

She concluded by saying that this cause is a global cause that requires everyone to be united and to spread the word of the “pledge for parity and women united against Islamic fundamentalism” as loud as possible.

7:05 P.M. Paris local time

Musical performance, featuring youth members of the Iranian Resistance

6:55 P.M. Paris local time

Safora Sadidi’s father was killed when she was only six years old. After joining the Iranian Resistance in remembrance of her father, she is working tirelessly to help her sisters in Iran who are suffering daily harassment on the streets as well as facing the threat of execution and torture. She urges the youth to join her in the fight and never give in to the regime.

6:40 P.M. Paris local time

Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Spanish Member of European Parliament, said that the violations against women is quite simply a crime, and crimes need to be prosecuted and punished. In 2016 it is unacceptable that women are still denied their civil and individual rights in Iran.

 

 

 

 

Margarita Durán Vadell, Former Spanish Senator, expressed her solidarity and that of her colleagues for the residents of Camp Liberty. She claims that misogyny is the centre of fundamentalism, but the voices of our sisters in the East, the West and Africa are all working together and equally to address this challenge.

6:30 P.M. Paris local time

Baroness Betty Boothroyd, British politician, applauds Mrs. Rajavi and the Resistance for their courageous struggle and commitment to a free and democratic Iran. She commends all Muslim women for not staying silent. “Your struggle for freedom and HR in Iran has not been easy”, she said via a video message to IWD2016 event. “It is now time for international communities to pledge their support.”

6:00 P.M. Paris local time

Kirsty Brimelow, Queen’s Counsel Chairwoman of Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, first pointed out that the Bar of Human Rights stands with the Resistance in their fight for freedom and women’s rights in Iran. She said it is obvious what needs to be done. She said the constitution needs changing – you can’t have a constitution that is rooted in medieval times.

Restricting females as judges needs to be changed for obvious reasons. And with regards to Camp Liberty –something needs to be done by the UN. They need to recognize it as a refugee camp, not a detention center. She said that this is not even a big step because the UN already recognizes the residents as persons of concern.

“The UN needs to recognize Camp Liberty as a refuge camp,” she said.

Maria Candida Almeida, Attorney General Deputy in the Supreme Court, attended to voice her concern at the senselessness of the struggle that women face in 2016. She also attended to voice and show her solidarity for the struggle. She wants everyone to keep fighting for the voice of reason.

She thanked Mrs. Rajavi for her example of great strength and determination.

5:40 P.M. Paris local time

Gisoo Shakeri, exiled Iranian singer, women’s activist, poet and writer performed for the audience. She said that International Women’s Day is not recognized in her county Iran and women are fighting, as they have been for many years, for even the most basic of fundamental human rights. She pays tribute to the women who have lost their voices – women who have been executed, woman who have been imprisoned and women who have had their voices silenced.

5:30 P.M. Paris local time

Yakin Ertuk, former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women from 2003 to 2006, spoke of her visit to Iran at the invitation of the Iranian regime over a decade ago. She was shocked by what she saw and claims she will never forget her trip, but is happy that her report was able to help the Resistance in their continuing efforts.

She said that fundamental human rights, the law and extremists are on course for a head-on collision. She wants to know who will win. She said she cannot answer that, but she will do everything she can to uphold human rights.

5:20 P.M. Paris local time

Rashida Manjoo, former UN Rapporteur on Violence against Women from 2009 to 2015 said that “for evil to flourish, all it takes is good people to remain silent”. Silence, she affirms, perpetuates the evil that is affecting so many people around the world.

She describes the United Nations as “a government of governments”, and for this reason we must realise and remember that political persuasion and economic policies come into play. Nevertheless, violence against women is view as one of the most serious violations of human rights.

Although there has been much progression in human rights, there are many gaps that need to be properly addressed. She believes that states are not being held accountable for upholding the rights of women. The lack of punitive action for violations of human rights is the main factor in the violations being allowed to continue.

5:10 P.M. Paris local time

Najima Thay Thay, the former Minister of Education and Youth from Morocco, said that the purpose of the gathering today was to support all women across the world. She said that the children who suffer are the flame that keeps us going in our fight.

She said that Mrs. Rajavi should be praised for supporting refugees and those who are discriminated against. Mrs. Rajavi is a success for freedom, for the Quran and for women.

She pledges the support of Morocco in their fight for freedom, despite the country having its own problems. Education is the key – if we educate our own countries we can start to see change.

5:00 P.M. Paris local time

Anissa Boumediene, former first lady of Algeria, lawyer and specialist of Islam, firstly thanked Mrs. Rajavi for her support of women’s rights. She then expressed her anger at the poor treatment of women who are denied equal rights. She condemns the men, and even the women, who are justifying persecution of women in the name of Islam. As a specialist who has studied Islam in detail, she is appalled that this religion can be used to condone the violence against women.

 

 

4:50 P.M. Paris local time

Christine Ockrent, journalist, writer and renowned TV presenter, said that despite the progress in the world, we still have a long way to go. She called upon Mrs. Rajavi to support the organizations around the world that are fighting similar battles.

4:30 P.M. Paris local time

Nagham Ghadri, Vice president of the Syrian National Coalition, spoke of what is happening in Syria. She said that Syrians are fighting for freedom and have been for many years. She talked about women who committed suicide after being released from prison after suffering abuse and rape at the hand of barbarians. She calls for support for her and the Syrians who need it so much and said that although their schools and hospitals are being destroyed, nothing can destroy their resistance or their resolve for freedom.

4:15 P.M. Paris local time

Ingrid Betancourt, Colombian politician and presidential candidate, said we have a duty to ensure that we all have the same rights – all despite our very different cultures and backgrounds. “Parity is the cornerstone of all freedom, democracy and human rights”, she highlights. It is “not a cultural issue”, rather it is something that every human being is entitled to.

Ms. Betancourt said that Khomeini is a “supreme dictator” and Mrs. Rajavi is presenting a new model that can be the change that is needed in Iran.

The fight of Mrs. Rajavi is our fight, “my fight”, she said. We need Mrs. Rajavi to succeed. It is the duty of the women on the stage and in the audience to get involved.

Françoise Héritier, French anthropologist and feminist, unable to attend the conference, speaks via video-conference. She commends Mrs. Rajavi’s resolve in changing the position of women and calls it a “message to humanity”. She recommends women to be courageous but says she has great difficulty, sitting in her comfortable Parisian apartment, in even sending a message to the residents of Camp Liberty. She commends their bravery and confirms that many people on the outside are battling for the same outcome.

4:00 P.M. Paris local time

Rama Yade, Former Secretary of State for Human Rights of France, speaks about the systematic discrimination against women which starts at very young age in Iran. Females are denied the right to study what they wish and they have to gain permission from their husbands for the most activities such as travelling. She applauds Mrs. Rajavi who has worked relentlessly for years and calls for her to keep working to change the position of women.

3:45 P.M. Paris local time

Rita Sussmuth, German politician and former President of the German Federal Parliament applauded the women and men who are risking their lives every day for the freedom of Iran. In particular, she mentions the bravery of the Camp Liberty residents who have undergone appalling persecution.

Ms. Sussmuth emphasised that “we cannot have freedom without peace”. The role of women is essential – they should be included in the move towards peace instead of being excluded.

If we stay silent to what is going on, we are saying “it’s ok” to what is being done to women. Ms. Sussmuth said that the energy in the room – from both women and men – is remarkable and will go a long way in helping women finally gain the equality they deserve.

3:40 P.M. Paris local time

Linda Chavez, former Director of Public Liaisons for the White House, spoke of the “so-called elections” taking in place in Iran yesterday in which women were denied the vote. She said that although we do not know the outcome of the election, the result does not matter – nothing will change in Iran until there is regime change.

Ms. Chavez deplored the fact that half of the population of Iran is denied the most fundamental rights. She said this speaks volume about the men of the country – they are “weak” and have “no self-control”.

3:10 P.M. Paris local time

After the distinguished guests are welcomed, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi takes to the stage. She is greeted with thunderous applause. She called fundamentalism a “proliferating cancer” that is spreading across the world. She stresses the importance of getting to the epicentre of fundamentalism and finding a way to uproot it. Mrs. Rajavi confirms that women should play a part in this.

Mrs. Rajavi talks of Khamenei’s role in the terrible persecution of women. She condemns the horrific violence that Iranian women are subject to under Khamenei’s rule. Not only is a woman’s testimony dismissed, he allows minor female children to be married against their will, he justifies sexual abuse of minors and rape of women. These are just a few of the human rights abuses that are permitted under Khamenei.

Regarding the rate of executions in Iran, Mrs. Rajavi recalls those females who were executed, in particular the minors: Fatemeh Mesabah who was only 13 at the time of execution, Mojgan Jamshidi who was only 14 when she was executed, and Noushin Emami who was only 16. These executions along with the dozens of other executions of women that were carried out as punishment for petty crimes are what we must remember. She said that these injustices will make women fight harder for the equality they deserve.

Mrs. Rajavi ended her speech by talking of what she hopes to achieve in the future. She plans to abolish the death penalty, separate religion and state, create a democracy based on freedom and equality, and achieve equal rights for women in “all political, social and economic arenas”. She wants to see women participate in politics so that they have equal participation in political leadership. She highlights that the PMOI practice this already – it is full of women who work alongside men in the struggle for equality in freedom.

2:50 P.M. Paris local time

Ranjana Kumari, Director of the Centre for Social Research in India and a leading figure in Indian politics, welcomes the audience and states the purpose of the gathering held today. She says that women are here to fight for female rights and to keep up the momentum in saying “no” to injustice. She thanks Mrs. Rajavi for standing up for women’s rights and her efforts in protecting women.

Despite global efforts, women are forced to flee Iran, Ranjana Kumari emphasises. She asks: “Which sacred text allows you to degrade humanity?” She commends those women who work towards a peaceful world for women and highlights that women are absolutely essential to developing our nations. Women need to be part of the peace talks, women need to contribute to helping our countries develop and women need to be encouraged to be at the forefront, she reminds us.

2:30 P.M. Paris local time

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi arrives at the conference titled “Pledge for Parity: Women United Against Islamic Fundamentalism.” The event is just starting now. Mrs. Rajavi receives a standing ovation as she enters the hall to take her seat on the stage. She greets her supporters and the international women’s rights champions who have joined her.

2:00 P.M. Paris local time

The International Women’s Day (IWD2016) program will be starting in a few minutes. Iranian and international delegates are taking their seats in Paris’s famous “Espace Grande Arche” hall in Paris.

International women’s rights personalities, lawmakers and dignitaries are in attendance. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, will be the keynote speaker of today’s event.