News & Current Affairs
Women Protesters In Iran Receive The Madeleine Albright Peace Prize From the United States
The United States presented the Madeleine Albright award to a group of Iranian women on the occasion of International Women's Day.
On Wednesday, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield honoured the Iranian women and girls who have been leading grassroots protests since the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in the hands of the "hijab police." The award was delivered at a White House ceremony held by First Lady Jill Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
On International Women's Day, the United States recognized 11 women leaders around the world, including some from countries amid crises, for their "exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equity and equality, often at great personal risk and sacrifice."
Earlier, US State Department Spokesman, Ned Price, announced a new yearly award to celebrate the legacy of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her advocacy for women's and human rights. He continued, "Given her longstanding support for women’s empowerment and leadership, we can’t think of someone who exemplifies the goals and values of the IWOC Award better than Former Secretary Albright."
He continued, "Given her long standing support for women’s empowerment and leadership, we can’t think of someone who exemplifies the goals and values of the IWOC Award better than Former Secretary Albright." “We’re proud to recognize the women and girl protestors of Iran with the inaugural Madeleine Albright Group Honorary Award this year.”
Price noted that many of the demonstrators in Iran are women and that these women are at the forefront of the movement, demonstrating their bravery, tenacity, and resilience for the world to see during the past six months.
The bravery of the protestors, notably the ladies who have taken to the streets at great risk to themselves, has been on full display. Furthermore, he emphasized, “They are in prison; they’ve been harassed; they’ve been injured. In too many cases, the regime has ended their lives prematurely for doing nothing more than exercising a right that is as universal to them as it is to women and girls here in this country."
In a statement released in honour of the event, President Joe Biden of the United States remarked, "We see it in Afghanistan, where the Taliban bars women and girls from attending school and pursuing employment. We see it in Iran, where the regime is brutally repressing the voices of women who are courageously standing up for their freedom."
Protests were held in cities across the globe in honour of International Women's Day this year, including Turkey, Zambia, Jakarta, Singapore, Istanbul, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Caracas, Montevideo, and countless others, with a particular focus on Iran, which is currently experiencing anti-government protests, and Afghanistan, where girls are denied the right to an education.
People in London marched to the Iranian embassy dressed as characters from "The Handmaid's Tale," while in Valencia, Spain, women shaved their heads in solidarity with their counterparts in Iran.
There has been growing international pressure on the Islamic Republic in recent days due to popular outrage over a spate of chemical attacks on girls at dozens of schools. Several people the dictatorship claims are linked to the poisonings and "foreign-based dissident media" have been imprisoned.
On the same day, Farhan Haq, a deputy spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, said that the UN is monitoring claims of poisoning among pupils and that the UN Country Team has offered assistance to quickly and accurately determine the facts surrounding this situation. "It's important for the Iranian authorities to investigate this fully and transparently, but we'll continue to monitor what's going on there," he said.
On Wednesday, UNESCO tweeted that they wanted to see prompt action taken to protect schools and get affected pupils back into classrooms as soon as possible. Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay has voiced grave concern "about the reported poisoning of schoolgirls in Iran over the past three months," calling the attacks a "violation of their right to safe education."
Commemorating International Women's Day, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union, and Australia imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Although the United States sanctioned Iranian leaders and companies for major human rights abuses, the United Kingdom went after global abusers of women's human rights, including Iran's morality policing group and its top official.