Female foreign ministers vow to ‘amplify’ voices of Iranian women

Toronto, Canada, Oct 20 (EFE).- Female foreign ministers from around the world Thursday vowed to highlight the voices of Iranian women battling a brutal police crackdown for demanding rights and freedom.

The pledge to support women protesters in Iran came as Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly hosted a virtual meeting of her female counterparts to discuss the situation of women in Iran after unrest triggered by the alleged custodial death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini.

“Minister Joly and women foreign ministers met to discuss women’s rights in Iran. They agreed to continue amplifying the voices of Iranian women as they fight for their human rights and to work together in support of the Iranian people,” a Canadian foreign ministry statement said.

The foreign ministry did not name the countries that participated in the closed-door meeting, also attended by Iranian-origin women.

At the beginning of the meeting, Joly said that “the world is watching” the Tehran regime and the participants of the meeting had “a moral responsibility” towards Iranian women.

The foreign ministry said Canada had taken swift action in response to the killing of Amini, who died while in the custody of Iran’s “morality police” for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly on Sep.16.

Since Oct.3, Canada has imposed sanctions against 42 individuals and 12 entities in response to Iran’s systematic human rights violations and ongoing actions that could destabilize regional security.

“The Iranian regime must end all forms of violence and persecution against the Iranian people, including their brutal aggressions against women in particular,” Joly said.

“Canada will continue to stand by the courageous Iranians who are fighting for their human rights and standing up for their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. Women’s rights are human rights.”

The minister said that young Iranian women were challenging “repression and structural gender inequality.”

Iranian activists have alleged that dozens of people have been killed by security forces, many of them young women, in more than a month-long protest.

Since 2018, Canada has promoted an informal network of female foreign ministers to “highlight the importance, role and rights of women in the world.”

The meeting of the ministers was not the only action taken Thursday by Canada to put pressure on Iran.

The so-called Freedom Online Coalition, a group made up of 34 countries and chaired this year by Canada, “strongly” condemned Iran for restricting internet access since the start of the protests.

“The Iranian government has to a large scale shut down the Internet yet again for most of its 84 million citizens nationwide by cutting off mobile data, disrupting popular social media platforms, throttling Internet service, and blocking individual users,” a statement from the coalition said.

“We continue to stand in solidarity with the Iranian people in their call to exercise their rights to freedoms of opinion and expression, both online and offline.” EFE


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