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United for Peace
Provided by The Nobel Women's Initiative

The Nobel Women's Initiative was established in 2006 by sister Nobel Peace Prize laureates Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Betty Williams, and Jody Williams. These women—representing North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa-bring together their extraordinary experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality. Their goal is to meaningfully contribute to building peace by working together with women around the world. Please visit them online to learn more about their work: www.nobelwomensinitiative.org.

International Women's Day: Supporting Women’s Rights in Iran
This column is provided by The Nobel Women's Initiative

For International Women's Day 2008, six women Nobel Peace Laureates of the Nobel Women's Initiative join more than 250 leading women's right advocates and organizations from around the world in a strong show of international support for the Iranian women's movement. In a statement released today by the newly launched International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the group expressed their concern about the persecution and prosecution of their Iranian colleagues. 

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran was launched earlier this week to advocate for human rights and social movements in Iran, provide a platform for their views, and gather international support for all Iranian human rights defenders.

The Nobel Women’s Initiative endorses the below statement and supports the collective efforts of all human rights defenders inIran.

On International Women’s Day,

We Stand In Support of Women’s Human Rights in Iran

Today, the international community’s attention is focused on Iran’s nuclear activities and a possible military confrontation between the United States and Iran.  We strongly oppose any military action againstIran that would result in great loss of life and do irreparable harm to the human security of the Iranian people and destabilize this already volatile region for many years to come. At the same time, the Iranian government is exploiting  the international community’s preoccupation with the nuclear crisis to further repress peaceful human rights and women’s rights activists.  A most recent case in point is the closure of the Zanan magazine, the only remaining independent print medium inIran focusing on women’s issues. 

The Iranian women’s rights movement is facing unprecedented obstacles and threats.  On the occasion of March 8, International Women’s Day, we express our solidarity with women in their quest for equal rights and an end to pervasive legal discrimination against women.

The government is preventing women from freely celebrating this important day of international solidarity.  The effort to stop expressions of support for women’s rights is part of a general denial of basic social and economic rights inIranWe call on the Iranian government to remove all restrictions on peaceful assembly and expression as required by the Iranian Constitution, in accordance withIran’s obligations under international human rights treaties.

Iranian women’s rights activists have launched several peaceful campaigns for gender equality. Change for Equality, for example, is a grassroots campaign to collect one million signatures asking for Iranian laws to conform with international law requiring non-discrimination based on gender.  The Iranian government continues to harshly persecute (and prosecute) the campaign’s activists. Dozens of women’s activists have been detained over the past two years and have court cases pending against them. Several have been sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. Security and intelligence forces routinely interrogate, harass, and intimidate campaign activists. We call on the Iranian government immediately to halt repressive actions against women’s rights activists and to work together with them to makeIran a place where women and men enjoy equal rights, and a country that upholds international human rights laws and standards.

On this occasion of the International Women’s Day, we, the undersigned, herewith express our solidarity with Iranian women and men committed to universal human rights--now, and in the future.   

For a list of signatories click here


Campaigns for Human Rights in Iran:

International Women's Day:

  • History of International Women's Day
  • Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), 52nd Session  - Learn more at PeaceWomen

For more information: 

  • Read the latest News on Women's Rights.

  • Read about the US-Iran conflict at our Middle East Issue page.
  • For opportunities for action and education on US-Iran relations go here.
  • Also, find out what you can do to support women’s rights defenders inIran.


Visit the Nobel Women's Initiative Action Alerts section
for more alerts and ways to take action.

Related links at Feminist.com:

The Nobel Women's Initiative was established in 2006 by sister Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire. We six women -- representing North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa -- have decided to bring together our extraordinary experiences in a united effort for peace with justice and equality.

Only 12 women in its more than 100 year history have been recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize is a great honor, but it is also a great responsibility. It is this sense of responsibility that has compelled us to create the Nobel Women’s Initiative to help strengthen work being done in support of women's rights around the world - work often carried out in the shadows with little recognition.

We believe that peace is much more than the absence of armed conflict. Peace is the commitment to equality and justice; a democratic world free of physical, economic, cultural, political, religious, sexual and environmental violence and the constant threat of these forms of violence against women – indeed against all of humanity.

It is the heartfelt mission of the Nobel Women’s Initiative to address and work to prevent the root causes of violence by spotlighting and promoting the efforts of women’s rights activists, researchers and organizations working to advance peace, justice and equality. By sharing a platform with these women, the NWI will spotlight their tireless work to prevent violence against women. By helping to advance the cause of women, we believe we advance all of humanity.

United by our desire to combat all forms of violence against women in all circumstances, we also recognize that specific issues for women vary around the world. One element of our work will be to sponsor international meetings of women every two years -- in a different region of the world -- to highlight issues of concern to women there. The objective of these meetings is to underscore our commonalities and differences by providing inclusive and energizing forums that ensure meaningful dialogue and networking by women’s rights activists around the world -- but with a view to action.

It is our commitment to action that brings us together. Therefore, our meetings will be linked with concrete work in the target region leading up to the conference, along with post-conference plans of action to address the issues addressed at the conference. In this way, the Nobel Women’s Initiative will support meaningful work on the ground.

We believe profoundly in the sharing of information and ideas. By networking and working together rather than in competition, we enhance the work of all. The Nobel Women’s Initiative is committed to supplementing and enhancing existing work and is determined to avoid duplicating the work of others. We want to open new ground for discussion, debate and change.

We hope you share our excitement about the potential of the Nobel Women’s Initiative to meaningfully contribute to building peace with justice and equality by working together with women around the world.

For more information, visit www.nobelwomensinitiative.org

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