Nobel Peace Prize: one day “Iran will be democratic” | D.W. | 24.10.2022

“We stand in solidarity with the brave women of Iran,” said Anna Ramskogler-Witt, director of the Berlin Human Rights Film Festival, at the award ceremony on Friday (21.10.22). “Our thoughts are also with the families of the protesters who lost their lives, who are in prison.”

To show its solidarity with Iranian protesters, the Human Rights Film Festival awarded its Honorary Prize for Freedom and Democracy to 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi.

In a video address, Ebadi said he wanted to donate the award to the family of Jina Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Kurdish student whose death sparked the wave of protests of the past five weeks.

The death of Mahsa Amini (pictured right) after being arrested by Iran’s morality police triggered protests

Shirin Ebadi: inspiring Iranians to fight for their rights

As the first Muslim woman and the only Iranian woman to date to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Ebadi has inspired generations of activists through her work as a human rights lawyer.

By defending intellectual dissidents, minorities, women and children, Ebadi “has given a voice to the oppressed,” Federal Vice President of the German Greens Party, Pegah Edalatian, who also has Iranian roots, told the award ceremony. Her work has allowed “the principle of human rights in Iran to remain in people’s consciousness,” she added.

This fundamental principle is driving young Iranians to protest today for their freedom and justice. “I’m often asked these days if women have a chance. That’s the wrong question: do they have the right,” Edalatian said.

More and more deaths and detainees

However, those who protest for those rights face enormous risks. “The authorities will never officially say how many have been killed or jailed, which means we will never know exactly how many people have disappeared and what happened to them,” Ebadi told DW.

According to the latest figures released by the Iranian Human Rights Activists News Agency, at least 244 people, including 32 children, have been killed by security forces. The human rights group also estimates that at least 12,500 people have been detained since the start of the protests.

Knowing the risks they face, why do young women and girls still take to the streets and publicly remove their veils?

“On the one hand, the young generation is much better informed than the previous one, and they know that they have no future if the Islamic Republic goes ahead,” explains Ebadi. % do not find work, and those who do, do not earn enough to leave the family home and earn a living”, he laments. It is “clear that these young people are taking to the streets to protest against such a situation,” he says.

Protests in Iran have been going on for five weeks

Protests in Iran have been going on for five weeks

hopes of democracy

Born in 1947, the activist became one of the first female judges in Iran, but was removed from her post after the 1979 Islamic revolution. After a few years as a clerk, she applied for early retirement. But she later realized that she needed to do more to counter the injustices of the Iranian regime.

Therefore, she returned to practicing law, taking on cases without charge to fight for the rights of children and women. She also defended intellectual dissidents who were tortured for criticizing the Islamic republic’s system. More than 80 writers, translators, poets, and political activists were killed between 1988 and 1998 in Iran. Many more disappeared.

Ebadi is now calling for a UN-supervised referendum, which would allow Iran’s peaceful transition to a “secular parliamentary democracy.”

Despite all the repression, he remains very optimistic for the future: “I know that Iran will be democratic, but I can’t give a date for that now. Maybe in six months, maybe in a few years. You can’t really predict the changes social, but I know it will happen. (rr/ers)

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Nobel Peace Prize: one day “Iran will be democratic” | D.W. | 24.10.2022