I was appalled to learn the news about the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the so-called ‘morality police’ in Iran in September. Mahsa Amini was beaten violently following her arrest for not wearing the hijab in accordance with government standards.
Iranians in huge numbers are standing up to say that they will accept this no longer. Women and girls are putting their lives on the line to lead a mass movement calling for nothing more than basic human rights and civil liberties. Braving severe state repression, hundreds of thousands of Iranians have joined protests. Over 12,500 have been arrested and, sadly, over 250 people have died at the hands of the security forces in just two months.
I believe that the UK must support all people who stand up for basic freedoms, including freedom of conscience and religion and the freedom to live one’s life as one chooses.
It is clear that the Iranian regime is restricting information in an attempt to quash the protests. Internet access has been periodically blocked in the country meaning that details of human rights abuses cannot be shared and protesters cannot organise. Freedom of information is integral to the success of any political movement.
What is happening to the women of Iran is heart-breaking. Women are now taking their lives in their hands to fight for equality; to fight for their human rights against a regime that sees them as less than human; and to show that they won’t accept it anymore. I stand with them.
I, along with women around the world, stand with the courageous women who are leading this fight and with the people of Iran who are calling for freedom and for liberation.