From Thursday to Saturday, DC time, I have been at the 2009 Freedom Forum – an annual event put on by the International Young Democrat Union.
Today we heard from Manda Zand-Ervin who heads up the Alliance of Iranian Women. They work with women inside Iran helping them to establish the foundation of a civil society and trying to publicise to media the plight of the women and children of Iran.
Women actually had equal rights in early Iran until around 623 AD when it become Islamic. Before the 1970s Islamic takeover women again had managed equal rights but now count as one-half of a man. Women do not get the custody of their children, do not have the choice in their clothing, residence, leaving the house, working, education or travelling without the permission of their husband.
Girls are “allowed” to marry is nine. Men can divorce the women at any time they wish and can marry several wives in addition to them. Girls inherit one-half of that which boys do.
One area of non discrimination though is hanging – around 200 women were hanged in 2008. And Iran sits on the Human Rights Commission dealing with women’s rights.
We also had a speaker from Cuba – a relatively young guy who left only a few months ago. He had been a pro-democracy activist so hadd been arrested and beaten up by the state on numerous occassions. Finally it got so bad he got out.
Chatting to anouther Cuban, I found out there is actually a law in Cuba which translated basically is for “pre-criminal social dangerousness”. Yes they actually convict you for pre-crimes – just like in minority report!
We do not realise how fortunate we are in the freedoms we take for granted – but the price for them is vigilance.Tags: DPF, Freedom Forum, IYDU