Geneva, 3 November 2023 (TDI): A group of experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council has issued a statement expressing their shock over the death of Armita Geravand, a 16-year-old who collapsed in Tehran’s subway due to a dispute over not wearing a headdress or hijab.
They are calling on Iran to cease policies and practices resulting in gender persecution against women and girls.
The experts have demanded an impartial investigation into Armita Geravand’s death, in contrast to the Iranian government’s claim that she died from a fall-induced brain injury.
They reiterated concerns previously communicated to Iranian authorities regarding the enforcement of dress codes for women and the use of excessive and unlawful force against those who do not comply.
These concerns have emerged following the reintroduction of Iran’s “morality police” after the implementation of the Chastity and Hijab Law, which the experts find incompatible with principles of gender equality and other fundamental freedoms.
The experts expressed their dismay at the similarities between the circumstances of Armita Geravand’s death and the previous case of Jina Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who was arrested for not adhering to the strict hijab law and later died while in custody.
They also conveyed their serious concern and disappointment regarding the authorities’ failure to conduct independent investigations into the deaths of women and girls during the nationwide protests triggered by Ms. Amini’s death.
Furthermore, they noted that there have been reprisals against women, including celebrities, who refused to comply with the mandatory dress code.
Even before the law was enacted, there were reports of women facing legal action for violating the dress code, resulting in job loss, imprisonment, or forced labor.
The experts called on Iranian authorities to make constitutional amendments, repeal gender-discriminatory laws, including regulations mandating dress codes, and eliminate regulations and procedures that allow state authorities to monitor or control women’s dress or behavior in public or private life.
They emphasized their continued concern and alarm over Iran’s ongoing policies and practices that lead to total impunity for gender persecution against women and girls, urging the government to put an end to these practices.