Joint statement by women foreign ministers on events in Iran
by Mélanie Joly et al
Following the virtual women foreign ministers meeting convened on October 20, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, along with her foreign minister counterparts from Albania, Andorra, Australia, France, Germany, Iceland, Kosovo, Libya, Liechtenstein, New Zealand and Norway have issued the following statement on the events unfolding in Iran:
“We, as women foreign ministers, are gathered in solidarity with the courageous Iranian women engaging in their right of peaceful assembly and advocating for their human rights. We recognize that Iranian women are also fighting for a better future for all Iranians and we have the moral obligation to support them. We strongly support the vital work of human rights defenders, in particular women human rights defenders, who ensure people around the world are free to exercise and enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“We also firmly condemn the reported violent actions that led to the tragic death of Mahsa Amini. We reiterate calls by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for a prompt, impartial and independent investigation into the use of force by the authorities and the subsequent repression of demonstrations, including the implementation of severe Internet and telecoms restrictions and the excessive use of force against protestors, including students. We also call on the Iranian government to allow the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran to be allowed access to Iran.
“As women foreign ministers, we feel a responsibility to echo the voices of Iranian women. We condemn the violent enforcement of the chastity law and the ongoing crackdown against protestors in Iran who exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression.
“We are also gravely concerned by the ongoing violent crackdowns on and the disproportionate use of force against civilians, in particular women and students, as well as the harassment of journalists. We call on Iran to de-escalate tensions and to refrain from committing further acts of unprovoked violence against its own population that has already resulted in over 200 deaths since September 2022. We further call on Iran to protect the rights of all its citizens to peaceful protest.
“Women’s rights are human rights. We salute the courage of the Iranian women who are peacefully protesting. We hear you. We are with you.
[Editor’s note: This summit of female foreign ministers was in gestation when President Cortizo made a change from Erik Mouynes to Janaina Tewaney. It had been announced that Panama would participate in this meeting, which took place online, but whether or not Tewaney attended, she and Panama did not participate in the statement that came out of the gathering, as reproduced above. So far no explanation is given.]
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