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  • Sep 19, 2023

Woman, Life, Freedom: Anniversary event at the UK parliament

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On the Anniversary of Mahsa Jina Amini and the Woman, Life, freedom movement in Iran, Azadi Network hosted an event in the UK parliament with the help of Sarah Olney MP.

In this event a collective of Iranians (activists, artists, journalists and other experts) were joined by MPs and members of the House of Lords to call for decisive action against the threat from the IRGC and gender apartheid facing global peace today. 

During the event, the parliamentarian guests had the opportunity to engage in one one-on-one discussions with Iranians who were expertise in 8 key topics: IRGC, women’s right, marginalised (including religious, LGBTQ+, Kurds, Balouchis, and Arabs), Political Prisoners, Art, Environment and Climate Change. Please see below for the highlights of the event, including details of our speakers and links to their powerful speeches. 

As a powerful sign of support, Sarah Olney MP has launched a Cross Party Letter calling on the UK Government to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist organisation. If you did not have a chance to sign this letter on the day, we urge you to do so today by clicking the link here for the letter and informing us if you want your name included. 

Azadi Network, along with our partners, have also produced information packages on each expert topic, which highlights its importance and how we can support the Iranian people in the UK. If you would like any further information on this or would like to discuss these matters with us, please contact us at [email protected]

Highlights from the speeches at the Anniversary of Iran Woman, Life, Freedom Anniversary Breakfast 19th September: 

Sarah Olney MP “As parliamentarians, it's so important that we come together to show solidarity with the Iranian people and to speak out against the terror that continues to be perpetuated by the Islamic regime and particularly by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, both in Iran and overseas”. For the full speechclick here. 

Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws KC “It is really important to call the situation [gender apartheid] as it is and use the right language. This is important, given our experience with campaigning for South Africa,” "We see the failure to recognise the humanity of every person inside Iran.  This is not respect for religion, this is lack of respect for human rights". For the full speechclick here. 

Alicia Kearns, Chair of the UK Foreign Affairs Select Committee stated “What we are watching in Iran is femicide, the weaponization of chauvinism in the pursuit of power, and that word femicide matters because if we do not call it out for what it truly is, we fail every single woman whose lives have been taken, whether it’s brutal tactics and gassing girls and their schools, or employing sexual violence as a weapon,”."We need every country and every parliamentarian to raise their voice." She  called for the proscription of the IRGC and closing the IR Iran regime’s cutouts that are operating on UK shores. For the full speechclick here. 

Baroness Verma reminded us that 'Gender apartheid in the 21st century is so bizarre and, as those responsible for this, IRGC has to be listed as a terrorist organisation. I urge everybody who's in the media, to keep gender apartheid in Iran at the forefront!". For the full speechclick here. 

Baroness D’Souza Highlighted the urgency of taking a stronger stance against the Islamic Republic regime in Iran and imposing the most severe personal and economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic and its officials. For the full speechclick here. 

Professor Javaid Rehman, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, pointed out the absence of accountability on the part of the regime in Tehran for serious human rights violations, which he said were tantamount to “crimes against humanity.”For the full speechclick here. 

Wayne David Labour Shadow Minister for Middle East and North Africa highlighted ‘IRGC proscription is a must and on top of that, sanctions must be enforced.’ and that ‘The Iran issue is the issue of all of us, who believe in democracy, freedom and human rights. ‘ For the full speechclick here. 

Sacha Deshmukh CEO of Amnesty UK, highlighted: “The UK government should be pressing for international judicial bodies to be addressing the current systemic impunity of officials in Iran through those bodies”. For the full speechclick here. 

Professor Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, in her video message for the attendees, highlighted the “ need for urgent increased support from the international community. Appeals to Islamic Republic authorities have, regrettably, fallen onto deaf ears and the crackdowns has since intensified.” For the full speechclick here. 

Negin Shiraghaei, Founder of Azadi Network commented: “After the events of the previous year, Azadi Network was established to give voice to the varied Iranian community. In just nine months, Azadi Network, united millions across various groups. From Baluch, Arab, Kurds, to LGBTQ and more and stand as one with our allies, including members of the House of Lords and the Parliament, UN special rapporteurs, business owners, Amnesty International and the UK, and we ask you to Join us to take action in this vital cause. Issue letters and ask the government to act”. For the full speechclick here. 

Sir Richard Branson through his video message for the event, Richard Branson highlighted that Iranians not only demand an end to the daily terror, they demand an end to the corrupt and hated regime. It's now incumbent upon the international community to give voice to the Iranians and intensify coordinated political responses including sanctions. For the full speechclick here. 

Anoosheh Ashoori British Iranian Human Rights Activist and previously detainee in Iran Prison reminded everyone this notorious regime funnels our national resources into manufacturing missiles and instruments of war. The lack of decisive action against the regime of Iran has allowed them to spread”, like cancer, “as we have tragically seen in Ukraine. If the world does not act swiftly, this calamity will knock on the doors of Europe and the United Kingdom”. For the full speechclick here. 

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