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  • Writer's pictureOvith Thiyagalingam

Iran Protests: Responding to the Oppression of Women's Rights

This article discusses themes of violence and may be triggering for some readers.

“We urge the authorities to immediately release all those detained in connection to peaceful protests, and to drop the charges against them. Human rights law protects the rights of people to peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression.”

– Jeremy Laurence, Spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva

Protesters Demand Change

Since September 2022, Iran has experienced widespread protests, with thousands of citizens participating in anti-government demonstrations throughout the country.

The protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman detained by Iran’s morality police on September 13, 2022, allegedly for not wearing a hijab correctly. Falling into a coma soon after collapsing at a detention centre, Iranian authorities report that Ms. Amini then died three days later from a heart attack.

Iranian authorities’ launch of a violent crackdown on protesters evidences a significant human rights crisis. Authorities have reportedly responded to protests by leveraging lethal force against unarmed demonstrators and non-threatening bystanders, as well as by enforcing forced detention. While exact numbers are unknown, at least 18,000 people have been detained and 475 protesters killed.

Government of Canada Response

Canada, along with the other G7 governments, has issued a joint statement strongly criticizing the Iranian regime’s violent and repressive crackdown on protesters and the Iranian people. Canada, specifically, has imposed strict sanctions against Iran in response to the significant and systematic human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian regime. This includes sanctions on at least 93 Iranian individuals and 179 Iranian entities, including the regime’s security, intelligence, and economic agencies.

Student Action

The treatment of protesters in Iran amid the crackdown has ignited rallies across Canada over the last several months, with thousands taking to the streets to condemn the Iranian regime’s use of violence and force on protesters.

What will your response be? Here are some actions you can take to support protesters in Iran:

  • Use social media to read news about the human rights crisis in Iran and to spread awareness by being vocal about what is happening.

  • Write to newspapers at your school and/or in your community, highlighting the Iranian government’s violence on protesters and violations of international human rights principles.

  • Support and donate to human rights organizations.

  • Contact your elected representative, urging them to publicize support for protesters in Iran and to address the Iranian regime’s use of violence on protesters.

  • Attend panels, workshops, and other community events that discuss the conflict in Iran. These events serve to better inform you about human rights issues by connecting you to other individuals and groups who are passionate about protecting human rights and who have mobilized to share their voices and demand change.

Your actions and contributions matter.

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