Between Sharia and International Law

Elham Aminzadeh:  Iran’s top female politician
I24 News, 13-8-2013

 
Aminzadeh1Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has appointed Elham Aminzadeh as Vice President for Legal Affairs – the first female to occupy the position in Iran’s history.
Aminzadeh is a law and public policy professor at Tehran University. Like Rouhani, Aminzadeh earned her Ph.D from the Glasgow University in Scotland.

The political role of women in Iran has been a touchy subject for years. Women in Iran were granted the right to vote only in 1963. Since then, they have held several high-ranking positions in public offices, serving as ministers and ambassadors. Since then, the progress of women’s rights in Iran has been unsteady.

In 1976, the first Iranian Minister for Women’s Affairs, Mahnaz Afkhami, was appointed. When the Islamic revolution broke in 1979, she was accused of corruption and blasphemy for her feminist stances. Afkhami has lived in exile ever since.
Surprisingly, the Islamic revolution in 1979 did later promote many women in power.

Masoumeh Ebtekar served as the first female vice president of Iran, following her prominent role as the spokesperson of the students responsible for the US Embassy hostage crisis in 1979. She is currently a city councilwoman of Tehran. Following her trail, an array of female journalists, activists and scientists served as parliament members, publicly addressing women’s rights under Muslim rule.
Despite their inspiring efforts, there are currently only nine women in the Iranian parliament, out of a total of 290 parliamentarians.

 

Elham Aminzadeh: “Sanctions undermine
the economic rights of the people”Tehran Times 2013

 
Imposing unilateral sanctions on various institutions and individuals has become a new method to apply pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran But this pressure is completely inconsistent with the original philosophy of sanctions as a tool for punishing countries that have failed to meet their international obligations.

The entity that most obviously deserves to have international sanctions imposed on it is the Zionist regime, which has committed numerous offences, including human rights violations and crimes against humanity. However, under the influence of the United States and its allies, the United Nations has always turned a blind eye to all the atrocities committed by the Israelis. And instead they are hypocritically imposing harsher sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran over its peaceful nuclear program

The sanctions, which supposedly only target the Iranian government and certain citizens, have actually undermined the economic rights of all the Iranian people.
 
Aminzadeh-col2
 

Religious charter transcends UN charter
53rd United Nations Commission for the Status of Women
1-04-2009, Report by Celia Michonik

 
In one of the UN-sessions, Dr. Elham Aminzadeh, the official representative of Iran gave a statement under the subtitle ” In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful”…
On the subject of women’s rights under Islamic law, Dr. Aminzadeh asserted that the Islamic Republic of Iran believes in gender equity for establishing an appropriate and adequate status for women.
She maintained that Iran achieves this goal by adopting a charter which places emphasis on the areas of “Morality, justice and security” as inspired by the religious ethics of her nation.

 

Regarding the respectable and responsible status of women in the glorious Quran we find that every great man had powerful women besides him. The wives of Adam and Ibrahim and the mothers of Moses and Jesus are held in great reverence.” (Elham Aminzadeh, 30-9-2009)

 
In her opinion the document “transcends the approach of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)“.
Her statement bared no reference to the practices of honor killings and stoning of women that are widely prevalent in Iran. She also maintained that the problem of HIV/ AIDS was almost non-existent in Iran and has inflicted less than 1% of the population of which only 6% are women.

 

Sharia Law: Iran’s constitution, adopted in 1979 after the revolution that overthrew Shah Reza Pahlavi, mandates that the legal code adhere to Sharia law, the Islamic moral code based on the Koran. Article IV of that constitution states: “all civil, penal, financial, economic, administrative, cultural, military, political, and other laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria.”
Sharia has an Old Testament flavor, providing, for example, for public lashings for certain offenses, and death by stoning for women convicted of adultery. (Today in Iran)

 

186 nations have ratified CEDAW
the U.S. has failed to do so

 
CEDAWLogoThe Treaty for the Rights of Women, officially known as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), is a pragmatic international agreement addressing the rights of women and girls.
In countries that have ratified CEDAW, women have partnered with their governments to improve the status of women and girls, and as a result have changed laws and policies to create greater safety and opportunity for women and their families…

The treaty was passed by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 1979, and was signed by President Carter on behalf of the United States in 1980. While 186 nations have ratified CEDAW, unfortunately, the U.S. has failed to do so and is keeping company with known human rights violators including Sudan, Somalia, and Iran.

In the United States, the CEDAW treaty has been voted on favorably twice on a bipartisan basis by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but the CEDAW treaty has never been brought to the Senate floor for a vote.
 

The Convention defines discrimination against women as “…any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

 

Elham Aminzadeh: The Fundamental Human Rights
in the Situations of Occupation and Economic Sanctions
Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Tehran, 2008

 
The protection of fundamental human rights at the time of war or peace is an obligation that should be observed at anytime by the states and international organizations.
After the Second World War, the non-peaceful situations such as occupation and economic sanctions have occurred numerously, which in some cases lasted for more than a decade. Unfortunately, the laws governing these situations are not implemented properly, and therefore fundamental human rights of people, especially their life, integrity and security, have been violated…
 

[Our]  study is based primarily on
the conventional and customary international legal rules.

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