Monday, April 26, 2010

Letter by Iranian Women’s Rights Activists to Members of the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council

27 April 2010

Your Excellencies,
The shocking news of the Iranian government’s candidacy for membership in ECOSOC’s Commission on Statues of Women (CSW) has astonished women’s rights activists worldwide. According to the available information, ECOSOC members will vote on Iran’s candidacy for a vacant seat from the Asia region on 28 and 29th of April.
We, a group of gender-equality activists, believe that for promotion and development of women’s rights globally, an empty seat for the Asia group on CSW is much preferabe to Iran’s membership.
In the short time available before this vote takes place, the signatories to this letter express their protest and warn against the ramifications of Iran’s membership in this international body.
In recent years, the Iranian government not only has refused to join the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), but has actively opposed it. The Iranian government has earned the international recognition of a gross violator of women’s rights. The government, with discrimination against women codified in its laws, as well as in executive and cultural institutions, has consistently sought to preserve gender inequality in all places, from the family unit to the highest governmental bodies.
Aren’t the government’s actions and laws, as enumerated here, enough cause to demonstarte that the Islamic Republic of Iran does not believe in gender equality: Dicriminatory laws against women such as lack of ability to choose one’s husband, no independent right to education after marraige, no right to divorce, no right to custody, violent treatment of girls and women in public spaces, insitutting quotas for women’s admission at universities, arrest and imprisonments of peaceful women’s rights activists, etc.
In the past decade, many Iranian women’s rights activists have launched several campaigns to remove disriminatory laws and practices in social and political domains, which have affected the global women’s movement.
However, the only standard for membership at CSW appears to be regional quotas and not a government’s record on promoting and protecting women’s rights. A government, that according to much evidence and documentation, has no basic belief in gender equality, will persuit what goals at CSW? We wish to remind you that CSW’s mission is to remove gender inequalities and promote and protect the statues of women.
The Iranian government does not respect or implement the Beijing Decleration and Platform. In practice, this government has doen much to prevent the implementaion of this platform. After fifteen years of gains on this front worldwide, Iran believes that Beijing Platform has been failed.
In recent years, the government has actively sought to justify paternalism and gender-inequality under the guise of traditional values and cultural reletivism. Providing an international platform to such government is a serious threat to women’s rights globally, and not just in Iran.
We, a group of gender-equality activists, caution you that Iran’s membership in CSW is a serious threat to the goals and mission of this institution. The Iranian government will certainly use this oppurtunity to curtail progress and advancement of women.
We write this letter hoping that you will oppose Iran’s membership. If Iran’s membership at CSW is inevitable, then we urge you to require its government to make serious committments to international conventions on gender equality, particularly in implementing the Beijing Decleration and Platform and becoming a party to CEDAW.

please send your signature against this shocking news to the following address:

Kurdish National Congress of North America Commemorates Armenian Genocide

NASHVILLE, TN—The Kurdish National Congress of North America issued the following statement on Saturday commemorating the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The KNC, a non-profit and member-driven organization representing Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan living in the United States and Canada, was founded in 1988. Its objective is to unite Kurds living in North America to work for common goals, to promote the idea of a United Free Kurdistan, and to strengthen the voice of all Kurds living in the USA and Canada. The KNC is a democratic organization.

We present the letter bellow:

Honorable Armenian Friends
Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Kurdish National Congress of North America I would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to you for the “Armenian Genocide” at the hand of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

Dear friends, for Turkey to stubbornly continue to deny the genocide of the Armenians while striving to reconsolidate its position as a democratic nation at the regional and international stages could only be seen as a hypocritical and deceptive maneuver to further solidify its arrogant stand before the world. Because, the fact of the matter is that the world community has become more cognizant and lauder than ever before to support the Armenians and recognizes what the Turkish Ottoman Empire committed against the innocent Armenians was a preplanned, organized, and all out genocidal campaign to eradicate the Armenian roots in the region.

Turkey sheds “crocodile tears” for the Palestinian children and supports the Palestinian cause. However, Turkey’s denial of accepting the responsibility for murdering Armenian children in 1915, and suppressing the very basic human rights of the Kurdish children to speak their native language is inhumane and unjust.

Further, Turkey carries a badge of democracy while eulogizing an old empire that was establish on cruelty and suppression against non-Muslims such the ancient Armenians is morally wrong and cannot be supported by any ethical or legal standard in the modern world.

Furthermore, adhering to an inherently racist and myopic Constitution and deny the Armenian genocide and the existence of more 20 million Kurds in Turkey is an insult to every aspect of human integrity. Therefore, it is imperative for the Turkish authorities to realize that a bright future cannot be built on the ruins of the past. For Turkey to be accepted as a viable member of the democratic and civilized world, Turkey has to accept the responsibility for the Armenian genocide and recognize the Kurdish national and democratic rights.

Kind regards,

Kurdish National Congress of North America

Roxana Saberi

Roxana Saberi

The Struggle For Human Rights In Iran

Monday, April 26 at 7:30 PM

Royce Hall

Free Admission

Please call 323-933-8294 for more information.

Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist who was arrested in Iran in January of last year on falsified charges of espionage, will be giving a human rights lecture at Royce Hall on April 26th, 2010. Ms. Saberi was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran but later released on appeal in May of 2009. As the keynote speaker of this event, Ms. Saberi will share her experiences regarding her imprisonment and shed light on international human rights abuses, as well as religious and political persecution. Having experienced the biased legal system and horrific confinement conditions that Iran’s political prisoners face, Ms. Saberi will be able to explain Iran’s current culture of intolerance and social suppression. After the 90 minute program she will hold a book signing.