By Our Correspondent

A Film Festival entitled “Honoring women Life Freedom “was organised in the United Nations plaza, New york on September 14, 2023 by Empower Women Media organization and stop Femicide.
The event was in Commemoration of the death of Mahsa Amini one year later and the Iranian uprisings for Equality, Justice and Human dignity.

A commemoration ceremony started the festival and a morning session with very high level speakers  that included experts to highlight the women and men who lost their lives in the 2022 Iranian protests.
The personalities who lost their lives included Dr Sousan Abadian an author and a generative cultural renewal, Dr Ardeshir Badaknia ,a physician, author and artist, Uriel Epshtein (CEO of Renew Democracy initiative), Yasmin Green (CEO of Jigaw ),Patricia Karam (Senior Policy Advisor at Freedom House ),Sheila Katz (CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women ),Navid Mohebbi (a policy Director at NUFDI ), and Reverent Johonnie Moore (President of the Congress of Christian leaders ).

Top personalities also commemorated include Suzanne Nossel (CEO of PEN America ),Myriam Ovissi (Trustee at Ovissi Foundation),Farah Pandith (First Special representative to Muslim communities at US Department of State) and Dr Javaid Rehman (UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran).


The afternoon session involved Film makers who covered the issue of women’s rights violations in Iran but also in the Middle East and South Asia followed by a discussion with the presence of Lisa Daftari (Editor in Chief of The Foreign Desk ) and Marjan Keypour Greenblatt ( Founder and Director of Alliance For Rights of All Minorities ) moderated by Shirin Taber , the Founder and Executive Director of Empower Women Media.

Ms Manel Msalmi, the President of the European Association for The Defense of Minorities, expert on Minorities and Iran delivered closing remarks of the film festival. She highlighted the fact that there is an ongoing repression of Iranian women in Iran including those of Kurdish ,Arab ,Baluch ,Azerbaijanis as well as religious minorities mainly the Bahais.

“.Those women have been facing various forms of discrimination and marginalization including limited access to education, job opportunities and political representation,” She said..
Ms Msalmi said the emblematic case of Mahsa Amini, the 22 year old girl Kurdish Iranian woman who died on September 16,  2023 three days after being arrested by the regime’s morality case shocked the world and highlighted a characteristic of the regime mainly ethnic and sexist discrimination.

She said :” For the very first time, we witnessed a solidarity between the different ethnic and religious minorities in Iran after the Iran protests in 2022 and all the different ethnic groups showed solidarity with youth and women in Iran”..

The Azerbaijani minority (around a third of the population) suffers from cultural oppression in many fields and women are in the most difficult situation. The Azerbaijani women are suffering in Iran as all the people there and especially as a minority and above it – as women.

The Azerbaijani women in particular were active in the protests and all the opposition groups in Tabriz had united around the Azfront group with highly developed Telegram channel.
These were women in Tabriz who put all the opposition together and worked with Azfront media to give voice to women and minorities in Iran. There is an ongoing movement of solidarity and unity which shows that “Women, Life ,Freedom ” is a movement for all Iranians to call for freedom, equality, justice and human rights for all .

Credit : EU Correspondent , United Nations plaza, New York

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