U.S., S. Korea and 7 others call for halt to violence against female protesters in Iran

WASHINGTON– The top diplomats of South Korea, the United States and seven other countries issued a joint statement Thursday, calling for an end to “extreme violence” facing Iranian women and girls protesting the death of a 22-year-old allegedly caused by the country’s morality police.

“The undersigned Foreign Ministers for country members of the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse call attention to the extreme violence faced by the courageous Iranian women and girls who are leading sustained nationwide protests over the tragic death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini,” said the statement.

Amini died in hospital in September after being taken into custody by the Guidance Patrol, or the religious morality police, for not wearing the hijab.

Those who were detained with the deceased at the time have claimed that Amini had been severely beaten and died because of police brutality, prompting a nationwide protest in Iran.

The nine member countries of the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse argued Iranian authorities are using social media and other online platforms to coordinate “online harassment, abuse and disinformation campaigns” against the women and girls protesting Amini’s death.

“This use of violence against women and girls in public life, which manifests both online and offline and is exacerbated by the scale, speed, and reach of technology platforms, is a deliberate tactic leveraged by illiberal actors around the world seeking to halt democratic movements and shore up their own political power,” the joint statement said.

The member countries include Australia, Britain, Canada, Chile, Iceland, New Zealand and Sweden.

“We invite the international community to join us in urgently working with technology companies to do everything in their power to enable women and girls’ access to information online, particularly their full and effective use of online platforms,” they said.

“Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse stand in solidarity with Iranian women and girls and will continue to look for ways to support women globally in exercising their rights freely and safely, online and offline,” they added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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