GENEVA: The UN called upon Iranian authorities on Friday to scrap a new law that dramatically increases penalties for women who flout strict Islamic dress code, describing it as “repressive and demeaning”.
The United Nations rights office said it deeply regretted the passage of the Chastity and Hijab Bill, which threatens Iranian women who flout the strict Islamic dress code mandating head coverings and modest clothing with up to 10 years behind bars.
The law “vastly increases jail terms and provides for crushing fines on women and girls who do not obey the compulsory dress code”, spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva. In addition to long jail sentences and heavy fines, those found in breach could under the same bill be flogged and face travel restrictions.
UN rights chief Volker Turk reiterates that this draconian bill flagrantly flies in the face of international law, and that it must be shelved“, Shamdasani said.
The push in Iran to step up penalties comes a year after a wave of protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly breaching the rules.
Since then, a growing number of Iranian women have been seen in public without hijab head scarves or observing the rules against clothes that are deemed too tight-fitting or otherwise revealing.
Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2023