On April 19th, the Jerusalem Report ran a story regarding Iran's election to the United Nation's Commission on the Status of Women for a four year term along with China, Japan, Lebanon and Pakistan.
The Commission on the Status of Women is supposed to be the "global champion for gender equality," according to the organization. This commission focuses on issues it deems fundamental to women's equality and attempts to promote the progress of women worldwide.
Iran's appointment to this commission is the height of hypocrisy, so the authors of this column have decided to publish their views toegther to shine a spotlight on this situation.
First, the audience will read Amanda Makki's point of view:
Having escaped the oppressive mullahs of Iran as a young girl, I often think about how my life, as a woman in Iran, would have been so different from my upbringing and the opportunities I had, growing up in America.
In fact, I was reminded of that just last month.
Maryam Karimi, likely a woman in her 30s or early 40s, served her 13 year prison sentence and then in March, just before the Persian New Year on the First day of spring, was executed in Iran by hanging for killing her abusive husband. One of her executioners was her own 19-year-old daughter who was six when her father died.
This barbaric custom is known in Iran as "Qisas," an Islamic term meaning retaliation. Qisas requires the victim’s next of kin to be present at the execution and they are actively encouraged to carry out the execution themselves.
In this case, Maryam’s daughter carried out her own mother’s execution.
The use of Qisas has previously sparked calls from the UN over the execution of Navid Afkari. Navid was the Iranian wrestler who was executed in 2020.
The UN stated: "It is deeply disturbing that the authorities appear to have used the death penalty against an athlete as a warning to a population in a climate of increasing social unrest," according to the U.S. Sun.
Except for my parents’ brave actions to escape Iran nearly 42 years ago with nothing but the clothes on their backs to build their ‘American Dream’, I, too, could have been one of these stories and statistics.
The opportunities I have had, to become a lawyer and work at the Pentagon just weeks after 9/11, to serve as counsel at the highest levels of Congress, as a woman who was not born in this country and did not speak English until Kindergarten, I give thanks daily to America.
This is a country that does not limit you any more or less based on your race, sex, or religion, unlike the country I was born in.
Next, the audience will read Bryan Leib's viewpoints:
As Executive Director of Iranians for Liberty and as a male, constantly hearing the stories of Iranian-American women whose families have experienced the regime’s oppression of women’s rights either directly or indirectly through their grandmothers, mothers, or aunts is one of the reasons why we do what we do each day – to bring human rights accountability to people living in Iran.
This U.N. statement highlights its own misogynistic schizophrenia when it comes to women, especially in light of its decision just last week to elect, of all countries, the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Commission on the Status of Women. The U.N. describes this commission as “the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
The U.N. clearly failed to do its homework before making this election, considering that in Iran, women cannot apply for a passport, travel outside their home, choose where to live, or get a job without her husband’ or if unmarried, her father’s permission. In fact, the world has recognized Iran’s heinous treatment of women by placing it in the bottom percentile of countries in the world, ranking 140 out of 144 in gender parity.
Violence against women occurs across the globe. No nation is immune, but in Iran, human rights organizations routinely complain that, "…under the mullahs’ regime, violence against women, domestic violence, and honor killings have not been criminalized…in fact, they are sanctioned and institutionalized."
Mehrangiz Kar, an Iranian lawyer and human rights activist, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, "In our judicial system there are no laws that prevent domestic violence. To the contrary, in the Islamic penal code there are many points that encourage violence against women in families."
As a Christian-Iranian female, and a Jewish-American male, we can both agree, as should every freedom embracing American, that it is appalling to witness from afar, the state of violence against girls and women in Iran.
As for the U.N., there are no words to describe the misogynistic absurdity of electing Iran, whose regime sanctions violence against women, to a commission created to safeguard and empower women.
This is the height of hypocrisy and we are calling on all Americans to speak out on this issue.
Amanda Makki was a 2020 Republican candidate in Florida’s 13th Congressional district. She is a lawyer who worked in Congress for a decade as a healthcare policy advisor and at the Pentagon just weeks after 9/11. She is a native Farsi speaker and lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She tweets @amandamakki.
Bryan E. Leib is the Executive Director of Iranian Americans for Liberty. Formerly, he served as the National Director for Americans Against Antisemitism and in 2018, he was a GOP Endorsed Congressional Candidate (PA-03). He tweets at @Bryan_E_Leib
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