The Washington-based organization Freedom House has announced that women of Iran are among the recipients of their annual Freedom Award, saying that the Woman, Life, Freedom movement has demonstrated remarkable courage and resilience in the face of ongoing persecution and discrimination by Iran’s oppressive rulers.
Freedom House’s own statement read:
On September 14, 2022, Mahsa Amini was visiting Tehran from her home in Kurdistan Province when she was arrested by Iran’s Guidance Patrol, colloquially known as the morality police, for wearing her headscarf “improperly.” Amini fell into a coma while in custody. On September 16, Amini’s family confirmed that she died in Tehran’s Kasra Hospital and alleged that the authorities had beaten her. Hours after her death was confirmed, the women of Iran quickly mobilized in response, with rallies ultimately being held in over 100 cities nationwide. Protesters clashed with security forces, expressing their anger over violence against women and the broader suppression of basic freedoms. The regime responded with a harsh crackdown, targeting protesters in the country’s Kurdish region in particular. Over 19,700 people have been arrested and 530 have been killed since the protests began. Iran has been rated Not Free by the Freedom in the World report since 1979, scoring 12/100 in Freedom in the World 2023.
“From all walks of life, the women of Iran are putting themselves on the line with unbelievable bravery. The international community must stand with the women of Iran as they continue their fight for freedom in the face of horrific repression and human rights abuses,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House. “The struggle for freedom and human rights requires the unwavering commitment of individuals and communities around the world,” added Abramowitz.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian democratic opposition leader and historian was awarded the honor next to the women of Iran for his relentless fight against corruption and repression in Putin’s Russia.
Past recipients of the Freedom Award include His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Václav Havel, the playwright, dissident, and first post-communist president of Czechoslovakia; Saudi activist Hala al-Dosari; journalist Edward R. Murrow; Uyghur activist Ilham Tohti; and Pablo Casals, the musician and opponent of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.