Women's Day: an opportunity to commemorate female victims of terrorism

March 9, 2021 - 18:7

The Second Meeting of "Empowerment of Women Victims of Terrorism; the Necessity for Future of Human" was held at Allameh Tabatabai University in-person and via webinar on Monday, paying tribute to women victims of terrorism.

By the effort of the Association for the Defense of Victims of Terrorism in collaboration with Allameh Tabatabai University and the International Law Student Association, the event was held on Monday with scholars and women activists in human rights affairs in Iran and West Asia and the families of war veterans and martyrs of the terrorism in attendance.

Aramesh Shahbazi, a professor at Allameh Tabatabai University, said at the beginning of the meeting, "Terrorism is an ominous and unfortunate phenomenon and becomes more distasteful when it is organized. If the targets of terrorism are those who are supported by the international community, such as children and women, then these measures violate not only international values but also the human rules of societies.

"Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive definition of terrorism, and this adds to the complexity of the issue that the existing capacities and facilities in international organizations should be used and steps should be taken to empower women victims in various social and economic dimensions.", she stated.

Shahbazi went on to say that "Women's Day is an opportunity to raise public awareness of women victims of terrorism and emphasis on the commitment to provide ample facilities for this segment of society and improve their conditions and develop national and international networks to realize their rights and follow up on necessary actions for them."

Shoaa Kazemi, an associate professor and faculty member at Al-Zahra University, for his part, discussed the mental health of women affected by terrorism, saying that people who were exposed to terrorist acts were suffering from disorders and noted, "Depression, anxiety, fear, diminished self-esteem, sleep disturbance, decreased tolerance and anger, locked up at home and quitting jobs and suicide are some of the symptoms that indicate that people, especially women, have been harmed by terrorism."
The university professor went on to make suggestions for improving the condition of the injured. Reducing discrimination, emphasizing capabilities despite shortcomings, paying attention to victims' concerns, and creating opportunities in employment and education were some of her suggestions for women.

Dr. Ahangar, a researcher at the Institute for Social Studies and Research at the University of Tehran, said in another part of the meeting about the experience of women disabled in terrorist acts that there were cases where single women victims of terrorism remained permanently single and thus faced many problems. "Also, some women in nursing homes do not receive effective nursing services, and some of these women suffer from unknown diseases."

Ahangar mentioned equipping sanatoriums and hiring efficient nurses and timely payment of services provided to the disabled as factors in improving their conditions.

Zohreh Elahian, a member of the Iranian Parliament and a member of the National Security Commission, in her speech on the issue of women as a common aspect of terrorism, stated: "The issue of women affected by wars and terrorist events is an important issue. We face security and terrorist acts in the region and in various countries, from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iraq and Palestine. Many women in different countries have suffered a lot due to the terrorist acts, and such incidents indicate that human rights and human rights are merely on the word and not in practice."

"The international community must take actions regarding this deplorable situation and use the capacity of human rights organizations to address these harms. The United Nations and the Human Rights Council and other institutions must fulfill their obligations and call on the governments of the world to take necessary steps in protecting the rights of women victims of terrorism."

She also stressed that "From the very beginning of the revolution, we faced Saddam's attack and witnessed that other countries and great Western powers supported Saddam. These attacks left many women wounded and martyred, and today many women are injured of the Iraqi chemicals attacks."

Referring to the terrorist incident in the parliament and the injury of women in the incident, Elahian added, "We have not forgotten the memory of the ISIS terrorist attack on the parliament. If the non-governmental organizations do not think about it now and do not have the necessary follow-up, such crimes will continue in the future and serious harm will be inflicted on the society."

In the course of the meeting, the women victims of Saddam Hussein's terrorist acts, the MKO, al-Qaeda and Komala, and ISIS extended their views about the terrorist incident that led to their disability.

"I was eight months pregnant when the terrorists placed an explosive device in front of my house, " said Fatemeh Mujbal, a victim of ISIS terrorism in Iraq, noting, "The blast wave destroyed my house. After the accident, the doctors said that my daughter would live only three days, but thank God my baby survived, but my daughter suffered from cerebral palsy."

"I think about that incident every day and when I look at my daughter, I remember that terrorist incident. I hope that one-day terrorism will be eradicated from Iraq and the world", she said.

Zohreh Haghpanahi for her part stated, "I was injured in a bombing in Tehran in 1982. I can now feel all the symptoms of PTSD disease with all my soul. I could not enter the community after the incident and I was afraid of encountering people. Gradually, with the help of my family, I was able to return to the community, go to university, and now serve as a teacher.

She underlined that women were the guardians of society and its real architects and they were so valuable that God had given them a mother role. "We must join hands and unite and work for freedom and justice, apart from differences between nationalities and ethnicities, and eliminate terrorism from societies. We can achieve this goal by unity among the women victims of terrorism."

Golrokh Mehri, a Zoroastrian, said, "I was the target of a terrorist explosion by the MKO terrorists at the age of thirty. I have been struggling with the effects of that day for 42 years. I still do not know why this happened and I will leave the perpetrators of that crime to divine justice. "

Habiba Golestani, a women's rights activist in Afghanistan, said that unfortunately, since March 4, 2020, when the issue of peace in Afghanistan and the Taliban-US agreement was raised, not only has the fire of war not diminished, but it has become so hot that it has spread from street to houses. Assassinations began which took victims from different walks of life. Accordingly, we bought fourteen meters of white fabric and gave it to the active women of the Women's Social Association until they collected signatures and announced their opposition to the war, and asked the warring parties to stop fighting and respond to the call for peace."

In another part of the meeting, Farideh Shafei described her injuries from Saddam's chemical attack on Sardasht: "Sardasht was first chemically attacked by the Ba'athist regime of Iraq in 1987. Mustard and nerve bombs landed on crowded and defenseless people in congested areas of the city, killing hundreds of people and leaving thousands more injured when they exposed to these toxic and dangerous gases."

"The devastating effects and consequences of this tragedy were so great that after thirty-three years, it still casts a shadow over the sick and disabled people, especially children, and they are grappling with problems. It is noteworthy that the international community and the UN have never condemned Iraq for this crime.", Shafei highlighted.

She stated, "I had to be sent abroad due to the severity of my injuries. One of my children was martyred in that incident and two other children became disabled, and I was the mother who lost one of her children and the nurse of two chemical disabled during those years."

Shafei said the assassinations were condemned wherever and in any form they were. "We hope that the international community will recognize the victims of terrorism. Hopefully, one-day peace, tranquility, uniformity, and justice will prevail in all societies and we will not witness so many crimes and injustices."

At the end of the meeting, the statement of the Association for the Defense of Victims of Terrorism on the occasion of International Women's Day was read. 

In a part of this statement, it states that women are the most important element of human society, which has the highest role in regulating society as a mother, and the strengthening of the world depends on this exceptional creature of creation.

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