Sexual Apartheid is the outrage of our century. In Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and countries ruled by Islamic laws, millions of women and girls are segregated, degraded and relegated to second class citizenship. Keeping women and girls separate and unequal are important pillars of Islamic rule, affecting every aspect of people’s lives. Just as a mass movement rejected Racial Apartheid in South Africa, so too must it reject segregation based on sex in Iran and everywhere.
8 March 2009 will be the 30th anniversary of the mass demonstrations against veiling and sexual apartheid that took place in Iran after Khomeini proclaimed the day before that women were to be veiled in workplaces. The protests were suppressed and the Islamic regime in Iran went on to impose compulsory veiling for girls and women and segregate the society at large.
The women’s liberation movement in Iran, however, continued to mobilise and grow in strength and numbers. Today, it is a resolute movement against sexual apartheid and discrimination against women and for freedom and equality.
Equal Rights Now - Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran is calling on people everywhere to pay tribute to this movement by recognising 8 March (International Women’s Day) as the International Day against Sexual Apartheid.
We also call on individuals, unions, parties and organisations to condemn sexual apartheid and the political Islamic movement that perpetrates it by continuing to sign on to the below declaration.
Declaration against Sexual Apartheid
We, the undersigned, unequivocally oppose sexual apartheid and the subjugation of millions of women living under Islamic rules and laws.
We condemn regimes and the political Islamic movement that perpetrate sexual apartheid, including in Iran.
We support the legitimate struggle of millions of women and men for freedom, equality and universal rights.
Sexual apartheid, like racial apartheid, has no place in the 21 century.
- Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson of Equal Rights Now - Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Coordinator of the International Committee against Stoning, Germany
- Mahin Alipour, Coordinator of Equal Rights Now - Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Coordinator of the International Campaign in Defence of Women’s Rights, Sweden
- Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of Equal Rights Now - Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, Producer of TV International English, UK
- Reza Ahmadi, Iran
- Ingwar Ahman, Writer, Humanist Society of Sweden, Sweden
- Ishtiaq Ahmed, Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University, Singapore
- Norm R. Allen Jr., Executive Director, African Americans for Humanism,
- Zari Asli, Coordinator, Friends of Women in the Middle East, Canada
- Mehmet Cagatay Aydin, Turkey
- Mina Behrozi, Activist, International Committee Against Stoning, Canada Branch
- Ophelia Benson, Editor, Butterflies and Wheels, USA