During a recent trip to Iran, United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights Louise Arbour met with women’s rights activist and Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi on the status of women in Iran. According to Reuters, Dr. Ebadi wrote to the United Nations earlier this summer, asking for a UN investigation of Iran’s treatment of women and the country’s detainment of some 50 activists who are involved in the One Million Signatures Campaign, a petition asking Iran to reform laws that discriminate against women.
On September 3, Commissioner Arbour met with Dr. Ebadi and several other human rights activists, according to Radio Free Europe (RFE). Some family members of political prisoners were prevented by police from accessing the meeting, but Dr. Ebadi told RFE that she informed Commissioner Arbour of their demands. “I gave her the name of the people who wanted to meet her and I informed her about the problems of the families who wanted to meet her” I also gave her their letters,” Ebadi told RFE.
In the past year, Iran has been criticized for its treatment of women’s rights activists. At protests in June 2006 and March 2007, activists faced police abuse and detainment. Most recently, Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, an Iranian-American scholar and women’s rights advocate who was detained for eight months on charges that she was a threat to national security, was permitted to leave the country.