A new bill that would enshrine harsh punishments for women and girls who do not wear hijabs in Iran could amount to “gender apartheid,” UN experts said in a statement on Friday.
“The bill could be described as a form of gender apartheid, as the authorities appear to be ruling through systemic discrimination with the intention of repressing women and girls into total submission,” the experts said.
He proposed legislationwhich is currently being reviewed by the Iranian parliament, would provide harsh penalties for women who refuse to wear the headscarf, including long prison terms.
The 70-article bill also proposes tough new penalties for celebrities and companies that break the rules and the use of artificial intelligence to identify women who break the dress code.
UN experts argue that both the new law and the existing restrictions “are inherently discriminatory and can amount to gender persecution.”
The UN panel of experts includes several special rapporteurs and a working group focused on discrimination against women and girls.
“Weaponizing ‘public morality’ to deny women and girls their freedom of expression is profoundly disempowering and will entrench and amplify gender discrimination and marginalization, with broader negative consequences for children and society as a whole. set,” the experts said.
The bill was reviewed by Iranian authorities just weeks before the first anniversary of the mass protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died after being detained by Iran’s moral police in Tehran.
The 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman died last September after being detained by the regime’s infamous morality police and taken to a “re-education center” for allegedly failing to abide by the country’s conservative dress code.
“After months of nationwide protests over the death of Jina Mahsa Amini and against restrictive veiling laws, the authorities have introduced a tiered system of punishments targeting women and girls,” the UN experts said. .
According to the UN, the legislation was submitted to parliament by the government and the judiciary on May 21. After making several amendments that increased the severity of the punishment, on August 13 parliament voted to allow a parliamentary committee to review it without an audience. debate, the UN said.
“We urge the authorities to reconsider the mandatory hijab legislation in accordance with international human rights law and to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights for all women and girls in Iran,” the UN experts said.
The new bill would reclassify non-wearing the hijab as a more serious crime, punishable by a prison term of five to 10 years, as well as a higher fine of up to 360 million Iranian riyals ($8,508). Previously, those who violated the dress code faced between 10 days and two months in prison, or a fine of between 50,000 and 500,000 Iranian riyals, which today is equivalent to between $1.18 and $11.82.
Another section states that the Iranian police must “create and strengthen artificial intelligence systems to identify perpetrators of illegal behavior using tools such as fixed and mobile cameras.”
Business owners who fail to comply with the hijab requirement will face heftier fines, which could be as much as three months of their business profits, and will face bans from leaving the country or engaging in public or cyber activities for up to two years. .
Celebrities can face a fine of up to a tenth of their assets, exclusion from employment or professional activities for a certain period of time, as well as a ban on traveling abroad and accessing social media, if they do not comply.