Shirin Ebadi

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A young woman died in hospital in Iran on September 16th after being detained by the morality police for showing too much of her hair. Mahsa Amini’s death ignited protests in more than 100 cities and street protesters openly declare that the Islamic Republic must go. The people of Iran are tired of theocratic tyranny. The movement’s chant is “Women, Life, Freedom”. But the realisation of this slogan will only be possible under a democratic and secular government.

During the 43 years since the revolution, many Iranian people have lost their lives for opposing the government. The true number killed is not clear as the government never reports such statistics.…  Seguir leyendo »

I thought the Iranian Revolution would bring freedom. I was wrong

I write this letter to my daughters and their generation, 41 years after a revolution that my generation helped to bring about. I hope you forgive us for the mistake we made. Although we did not intend it, we have darkened your world.

Yes, we wanted to make the world a better place. We were dreamers. We dreamed of creating a country where both human rights and human dignity would be guarded by strong democratic institutions. We thought that we had every right to translate these beautiful ideas into reality.

Yet the border between idealism and naivete is sometimes blurred. In our idealism, we were naive enough to think that the cleric Ruhollah Khomeini was the man to make our dreams come true.…  Seguir leyendo »

El 10 de diciembre de 1948, la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas adoptó la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos, afirmando la visión de que “la voluntad del pueblo” –democracia- debería ser la base de cualquier gobierno. Pero siete décadas después, las democracias del mundo están en peligro. Después de que se cuadruplicara la cantidad de democracias entre el fin de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y el año 2000, ahora estamos en un período sostenido de regresión política. Las sociedades alguna vez abiertas están virando hacia una dictadura y, en muchos países, las tendencias despóticas se están afianzando.

Estas tendencias se pueden revertir, pero sólo si nos ponemos de acuerdo sobre las causas de la regresión democrática y diseñamos nuestros objetivos en consecuencia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Even as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sat with his Western counterparts last weekend in Geneva, shaking hands and celebrating the interim six-month nuclear deal, the lifeless body of a young man hung from a crane in a bleak public square in Tehran, spreading fear among Iranians, who suffer the world’s highest per capita rate of executions.

How can these stark contrasts be reconciled as world leaders move to the next stage of rapprochement with Iran?

Diplomacy is, without doubt, preferable to war or to the sanctions that have impoverished ordinary Iranians already struggling in a corrupt and mismanaged economy.…  Seguir leyendo »

No cabe duda de que Irán está atravesando días duros en los que se está trazando su destino y, por esta misma razón, cualquier opinión, declaración, decisión o iniciativa por parte de todos cuenta con mucha importancia y responsabilidad, ya sea por parte del Gobierno, por parte de los que están bajo las garras de la violencia gubernamental o por parte de cualquier persona amante de la patria y de la libertad y que tenga su alma arraigada en la amada tierra de nuestro país.

Lo que hemos visto en el día de Ashura [tradicional fiesta chií] es mucho más duro y doloroso de lo que podría relatar aquí.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Iranian woman holds up a picture of the latest crackdown by Iranian police on reformist protesters in Tehran. Photograph: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images

Iran today is a country where women are more educated than their male compatriots; more than 60% of university students are female, as are many university professors. Iranian women obtained the right to vote and become members of parliament half a century ago – earlier than women in Switzerland, who achieved this right in 1971. Since that time at least a small number have been present in Iran's parliament. Even the present parliament, which is monopolised by hardliners, has 13 women members.…  Seguir leyendo »

El lunes 15 de junio, más de un millón de personas se manifestó por las calles de Teherán en apoyo a Mir Hosein Musaví y Mehdi Karrubi, dos de los candidatos presidenciales derrotados en las elecciones iraníes. Los manifestantes protestaban por los resultados electorales hechos públicos por las autoridades. Su destino era la plaza Azadi (de la Libertad). Dicha plaza, en la época de la Revolución Islámica de hace 30 años, fue el punto de encuentro de los revolucionarios. Musaví se subió a lo alto de un minibús y, megáfono en mano, se dirigió a la gente congregada. Les dijo que siguieran con sus protestas, pero evitando comportamientos agresivos que dieran un pretexto a las fuerzas de seguridad para responder con violencia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iranians are expected to turn out in record numbers tomorrow to elect a president. The world is watching. For many Iranians, this election will be a litmus test of the current government's claim that Iran is "the freest country in the world." While it is not officially on the ballot, the future of human rights in Iran is at stake.

In the past four years -- and particularly since the Obama administration came into office -- the government in Tehran, which has said it seeks to bring "kindness and justice to the world," has stepped up its harassment of human rights defenders.…  Seguir leyendo »

The suffragettes have been an inspiration for countless women around the world. This month it will be exactly 80 years since their momentous struggle led to the Bill for full women's suffrage being presented to Parliament.

Women in modern Britain may not live in a discrimination-free utopia, but the law, at least, is mostly on their side. This is what we need in Iran - laws that protect and empower women. Instead, we have laws for men that institutionalise prejudice. The law looks disfavourably on Iranian women - literally with a male face. Since the 1979 Revolution Iranian women have been forbidden from serving as judges.…  Seguir leyendo »