'Unilateral coercive sanctions violate women's right to development'

March 15, 2022 - 17:36

TEHRAN – Iran calls on the international community to stand up against unilateral coercive sanctions which have violated the right to development of Iranian women, Ensieh Khazali, Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, said in the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

“Despite the pressures and restrictions of illegal and inhumane sanctions, especially on access to some medicine and medical equipment, my country has come out of the global coronavirus fight by relying solely on indigenous capabilities producing an effective domestic vaccine. To date, we have been able to vaccinate 63 million people with the first dose of vaccine, 55.5 million with the second dose, and 23.5 million with the third dose of the vaccine.

During this time, about 12,000 female-heads of households underwent empowerment training and entered the traditional and virtual market. Also, more than 1.1 million women heads of households are covered by the Relief Committee and more than 300,000 are covered by the Welfare Organization, benefiting from special support such as facilities, insurance, and livelihood services.

In order to reduce the economic damage, recession, and financial pressure on families, subsidies were allocated to 17 million households (more than 50 million people). also, with the approval of the cabinet, the loan for women heads of households affected by the pandemic was doubled.

Preparing and implementing a plan to promote social resilience of women and families for 31 provinces in 1,100 points of the country, supporting plans to reduce social harms with thousands of training hours, empowerment plan for social emergency experts, were among the development measures on the status of Iranian women.

In addition, due to the importance of empowering rural and nomadic women in order to help protect the environment, a number of rural and nomadic women have become landowners by running more than 2,000 rural and nomadic cooperatives over the past 5 years.

With all the efforts, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the women of my country are practically fighting against the effects of unilateral coercive sanctions. The heroic women of this land, who in various fields, along with the men, have recorded remarkable achievements and proved that they do not lag behind; They are currently battling the pressure of oppressive and unilateral sanctions.

Providing fair access for women and men to professions, empowering women in the face of climate change, increasing the presence of women and influence are other measures.

In addition to training 17,454 female rescuers, as well as providing first aid to more than 56,250 women volunteers in person and online, as well as empowering thousands of women across the country to prepare for all kinds of hazards are another action to increase the effective social presence of women in my country.

Appreciating social solidarity, Iran calls on the international community to stand up against the violation of the right to life, health, employment and, in another word, the right to development of Iranian women through unilateral coercive sanctions,” she said.
The session took place from March 14 to 25.

Achievements in empowering women remarkable

Earlier in March, Zahra Ershadi, Iran's ambassador and deputy representative to the United Nations, has said that Iran has made significant progress in empowering women, despite U.S. illegal and inhumane sanctions.

“The United States-imposed illegal and inhumane sanctions against the country have negatively affected the financing and executing of the programs planned by the Government, civil society, and private sectors aiming at women advancement and empowerment. However, Iran has made significant achievements in this regard.

Women have an undeniable role to play in promoting dialogue and confidence in the peace and security process. It is a well-known fact that encouraging women to participate in the peace process increases the possibility of peace.

As a result, women's participation in the peace process increases the effectiveness of humanitarian aid, enhances civilian protection, contributes to the political settlement of disputes and the maintenance of long-term peace, and accelerates economic reconstruction,” she highlighted.

On February 15, Ershadi slammed U.S. sanctions against the Iranian nation, saying "these illegal actions have directly impacted the lives of Iran's most vulnerable citizens, including women, children, and patients."

Iran has repeatedly denounced the sanctions as an act of “economic war”, “economic terrorism”, and “medical terrorism”.

Claudio Providas, UNDP Representative in Iran, has said Iran was among the first countries to be hard hit by COVID-19. 

In an article published by the Tehran Times on Monday, he wrote that the pandemic broke out at a time when the nation was still reeling under the impact of the unilateral economic sanctions, and this added to the pressures on daily life, particularly on women.

“The participation of Iranian women in the economy post-pandemic declined. The effect of this reduction was worse among Women's Head Households (WHH) - and in low-income households headed by women, the situation was even more complicated. 

According to the Statistical Center of Iran, out of twenty-two (22) million families in Iran, over three (3) million are WHH and most of them are in less-developed areas. The Government prioritized such families for targeting socio-economic support.”

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