Women and Armed Conflictthe I.R.I

Introduction

Background

Islamic Republic of Iran, due to its geopolitical situation in the Middle East and

independent foreign policies has always been threatened by super power governments.

Still the traces of 8 year forced war of Saddam against Iran can be seen that

left martyrs, captives and more than 500 thousand handicapped men and women

and the life of those injured in chemical attacks is in danger. The affects of this war

will continue for another generation among martyrs’ families.

Existence of hundreds of mines that are not de-mined is another horrible event left

from the imposed war that is a potential threat to women and children residing in

these areas.

Hosting hundreds of Afghan and Iraqis and problems of refugee women is another

crisis caused by the US and its dependant governments.

These events have caused pain to Iranian’s independent and peaceful spirit and

brought about significant achievements without foreign assistance by using internal

resources.

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Article 3

11.all round strengthening of the foundations of national defence to the utmost

degree by means of universal military training for the sake of safeguarding the independence,

territorial integrity, and the Islamic order of the country;

Article 152

The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based upon the rejection of all

forms of domination, both the exertion of it and submission to it, the preservation

of the independence of the country in all respects and its territorial integrity, the

defence of the rights of all Muslims, non-alignment with respect to the hegemonist

superpowers, and the maintenance of mutually peaceful relations with all non-belligerent

States.

Article 154

The Islamic Republic of Iran has as its ideal human felicity throughout human society,

and considers the attainment of independence, freedom, and rule of justice and

truth to be the right of all people of the world. Accordingly, while scrupulously

refraining from all forms of interference in the internal affairs of other nations, it

supports the just struggles

of the mustad’afun against the mustakbirun in every corner of the globe.

Vision

Twenty years vision of the country: A safe, independent, and powerful society with

defense order based on total prevention and unity of people and government.

Having mutual and productive relation with the world based on dignity, knowledge

and expedient

Women and Armed Conflict

61 National Beijing+10 Report of

the Communication Network of

Women's NGOs of the I.R.I

Charter of Women’s Rights and Responsibilities

126. Women’s right to benefit from necessary support for safeguarding physical

integrity and prevention of transgressions against reputation of women during the

time of war, captivity, and military occupation;

124. Women’s right and responsibility of legitimate defense of self and others, religion,

country, life, property and reputation;

125.Women’s right and responsibility to participate in affairs and endeavor towards

the maintenance and promotion of world peace;

Current Situation and Achievements

Participation of Women in Conflict Resolution at Decision-Making

Level

E.1 INCREASE THE PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION

AT DECISION-MAKING LEVELS AND PROTECT WOMEN

LIVING IN SITUATIONS OF ARMED AND OTHER CONFLICTS OR

UNDER FOREING OCCUPATION

Active involvement of women in defending borders of Iran during 8 years of the

war and establishment of women mobilized groups as part of armed forces, women

as legal social workers in the Martyrs’ Foundation (Bonyad Shahid), leaded women

to be involved in military decision making levels, preserving peace and security and

preventing massive damages of war on women and young girls and families of the

martyrs of the imposed war.

Major levels of women’s involvement indecision making are: establishment of

Office of Women’s Affairs in the Cultural Department of the Armed Forces, Office

of Women’s Affairs at the Defense Ministry, and Council of Women’s

Representatives at the Defense Ministry and presence of women in technicalresearch

Councils of the Defense Ministry.

Women handicapped IN War

Due to the imposed war of Iraq against Iran, 6400 were martyred, 6200 women

became handicapped and 10 women were war captives and now over 60,000

women are head of households after the war.

Foundation for the Oppressed and Handicapped (Janbazan) has allocated 230 billion

Rials for women whose husband became handicapped in war and the amount

for handicapped women is more than those for men.

Also, monthly pension of handicapped women is 25% more than others and they

enjoy advantages in education, housing, insurance, medical issues and employment.

There are also other kinds of facilities for the war affected families.

Women and Armed Conflict

62 National Beijing+10 Report of

the Communication Network of

Women's NGOs of the I.R.I

Military Expenditures

E.2 REDUCE EXCESSIVE MILITARY EXPENDITURES AND CONTROL

THE AVAILABILITY OF ARMAMENTS

At the beginning of the Revolution, by the order of Supreme Leader of the

Revolution, the Islamic Revolution Guards were formed to defend the Revolution

ideals beside the Islamic Republic Military Forces. During the imposed war, the

Military Guards had a crucial role in defending the borders of the country and establishing

security for people of Iran and after war has focused its activities on reconstruction

in sustainable development such as constructing dams, building roads.

Although the Islamic Republic of Iran is faced with military and political threats,

among countries of the Middle East, has allocated a small portion for military

objectives and defense structures. While the Middle East is now a crisis stricken

region in the world and has experienced two wars in the last two decades such as

the war in Iraq, Iraq’s war against Kuwait, and the invasion of the United States to

Afghanistan and Iraq.

Drug Trafficking

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to Article 33 for Anti-Narcotic

Campaign, a secretariat with the chairmanship of the President, who is the highest

decision and policy making level, was formed to campaign, prevent addiction and

rehabilitation of addicts. The objectives of this secretariat is campaign against drug

trafficking and abuse of drugs and using all facilities and resources including implementing,

judiciary, cultural, and education to achieve a society free of addiction and

drug trafficking.

According to the abovementioned law, this secretariat and other ministries, organizations

and institutes, governmental and non-governmental have the following

responsibilities:

Preventing addiction and curing addicts to drugs and supporting individuals at risk

to prevent addiction to drugs and narcotics

Curing and rehabilitation of addicts

Provisions for the post-freedom period

Provisions to protect and immunity of at risk and cultural, guidance, advocacy

measures to mitigate the demand rate

It is worth mentioning that the Islamic Republic of Iran has common borders with

Afghanistan, which is the main center of narcotic production in the region and is the

front line of drug trafficking to Europe and other countries; while receives no serious

support from Europe in implementing this duty.

Weapon Trade

According to the law, weapon trade and having them on board is illegal and the

criminals will face legal measures.

Anti Human Trafficking Campaign

Regarding human trafficking; lately a law has been approved against trading children

and women, which is called Anti-Human Trafficking Campaign Law that is

covered in the section for “Violence Against Women”.

Women and Armed Conflict

63 National Beijing+10 Report of

the Communication Network of

Women's NGOs of the I.R.I

Landmines

According to the statement of the Ministry of Interior; two million and eight hundred

hectares of lands of the country are covered by landmines and according to the

provisions of department of prevention of welfare organization, 15 million landmines

exist in war stricken areas of the country, which have not been cleared after

the imposed war of Iraq and Iran.

Although there have been trainings and informing bulletins have been installed to

prevent drastic evens, since these mines have merged into the land after years and

there are not enough equipments for cleaning them, after Egypt that has the largest

mine fields to defend its borders with Palestine, Iran is the second country of landmine

lands.

Nuclear Activities

The Islamic Republic of Iran is facing nuclear threats of Israel government and is

the neighboring country to Pakistan that is conducting nuclear test continuously, but

Iran is conducting its nuclear activities under the supervision of UN and the Agency

of Atomic Energy agencies. The peaceful and scientific activities of the Iranian

Atomic Energy are as follows:

Rendering technical services in nuclear scientific and technical fields

Conducting researches in nuclear scientific and technical fields and its application

in industries and services

Production and distribution of radio isotope and other equipments needed for application

of atomic science and techniques in Iran

Conducting researches regarding energy sources available in nature that are not

used and efforts in using the experience of other countries in this regard through

communication

As it has been mentioned in the objectives of Iran Atomic Energy Organization all

nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes and the Islamic Republic of Iran as the

member of Atomic Energy Agency is aware and monitoring all his atomic energy

commitments.

Law on Defending Children and Adolescences

E.3 PROMOTE NONE-VIOLENT FORMS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

AND REDUCE THE INCIDENCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE IN CONFLICT

SITUATIONS

The law to defend children and adolescences was approved in 2002 by the

Parliament. According to this law, children and adolescences under 18 (Iranian calendar)

are supported by this law. Some of the issues of this law are as follows:

Any kind of harassment that threatens physical and psychological health of children

and adolescences or creates moral damages is prohibited.

Trade and abuse and work of children to implement illegal actions such as trafficking

are forbidden.

Any kind of torture or physical and psychological abuse of children and ignoring

the physical and psychological health and deprivation from education is prohibited.

Child abuse is a public sin and doesn’t need any complaint.

Law related to women is covered in human rights of women and violence against

women sections.

Women and Armed Conflict

64 National Beijing+10 Report of

Communication Network of Women's NGOs

of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Refugee Women

Supporting, assisting and education of refugee women, displaced women in

need of international help and internally displaced women.

Since 1979, following the political and armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran

has been hosting nearly four million refugees. Open door policy of Islamic Republic

of Iran gave the opportunity to Iraqi and Afghan refugees to reside in Iran for long

years. Of course, fall of Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 and Saddam in 2003 and

establishment of relative peace in these countries, significant number of these

refugees have returned to their countries of origin but due to insecurity and lack of

education, health facilities and social welfare and lack of work opportunities especially

in Afghanistan has created stagnancy in repatriation process. So, Iran is still

facing a huge community of refugees that are not willing to go back because of

improper living situations. In between, women form 45 percent of Afghan refugees

and 48 percent of Iraqi refugees.

The characteristics of this population are: low age of marriage, high reproductive

rate, low level of literacy, and health due to their rural and nomadic origin. Vast distribution

of this refugee community in villages and cities of Iran and residence of

only 7 percent of them in the camps has given the Iraqi and Afghan refugees to live

beside Iranian people and enjoy health, education, welfare and social facilities. So

that there are significant changes among them, especially women.

Health of Refugee Women

The main concern of refugee women health is high reproductive rate and low level

of hygiene among them. The aforementioned rates among Afghan and Iraqi

refugees are accordingly 30.5 percent and 4.4 percent. Rural, health networks, introducing

health and treatment measures through curative services network in the

country has decreased mortality rate among refugees in general and more specifically

among children, pregnant and lactating women so that mortality rate of pregnant

women has reached 50 percent and mortality rate of children reached 75 percent

in 1990.

Unfortunately, repatriation process since 2003 has created concerning restrictions

for access of women to health facilities, especially family planning services that can

surpass the positive measures undertaken during the last two decades.

Education of Refugee Women

According to the statistics, only 19 percent of Afghan refugees that have come to

Iran after 1979 were educated and this was only 5 percent for women. This estimate

in 1992 reached 44.4 percent and in 2002 it was 50 percent.

In this regard, some mutual projects with international organization have been

undertaken to encourage girls to education in the camps and in this projects each

months 5 kilos of oil has been given to girl students.

One of the main concerns in girls’ education since 2003 is the repatriation process

and restrictions in the education system for refugee children. In this regard, high

school fees for registration in governmental schools and governance of traditional

Women and Armed Conflict

65 National Beijing+10 Report of

the Communication Network of

Women's NGOs of the I.R.I

values in refugee families in prioritizing boys for education has leaded to considerable

drop in girls education that unavoidable has leaded to early marriages and continuous

deliveries in low ages and threatens physical health and hygiene and prevents

development.

Employment of Refugee Women

It is worth mentioning that job opportunities for educated and skilled refugee

women don’t exist in the camps and cities, except those who are involved in refugee

schools for informal education of refugee children.

Refugee women have rural origin, have low education or are illiterate. These

women are mostly involved in traditional economy activities such as carpet weaving,

husbandry, and agriculture and faced restrictions after settlement in urban areas

of Iran. It should also be mentioned that refugee women’s efforts in adapting themselves

to living condition is a valuable and potential diagram that can be used in

paving the way for their development.

This estimate is based on different projects, implemented by Iranian or international

non-governmental organizations with the aim of promoting employment, selfemployment,

social participation and education achievement of refugee women in

Iran. Although, due to restrictions, only a small portion of refugee women have

been covered by these projects but it showed that these projects are the best tool to

communicate and access women with rural origin where cultural and social values

restricted their social activities. The impact of working women on economic situation

of the family where refugee status can spoil these opportunities. There are cases

where women have completed any training course with lots of difficulties and then

due to lack of opportunity for working they have not been able to use their skills

and assist their families.

Women Headed Households

Women who are head of households among refugees face more problems.

According to formal statistics in 2004 out of 2249050 Afghan refugees living in Iran

5488 were women as heads of families who have lost their husband with family

members above one and 260 divorced women that had to take care of the family

who, due to low education, financial problems, lack of proper job, lack of support

from family, governmental organizations, NGOs and international organization are

living under hard circumstances.

Social Security of Refugee Women

In Iran, due to common religious, cultural, and social values with Iraq and

Afghanistan, refugee women enjoy relative social security and have been safe from

sexual violence, abuse and rape based on gender. This is because of social values

and the nature of expanded family structure where women rarely use family support

and this might be the reason that refugee women are less interested in going back

to their countries and live under traditional, cultural and social circumstances of

Afghanistan.

Legal Status of Refugee Women

One of the main concerns of legal status of refugees is the status of Iranian women,

Women and Armed Conflict

66 National Beijing+10 Report of

the Communication Network of

Women's NGOs of the I.R.I

who have married Afghan and Iraqi refugee men because of their long presence of

two decades in Iran and the result is tens of thousands of Iranian/Afghan and

Iranian/Iraqi refugee children that due to not being registered and legal gaps and

social and political concerns of Iranian government in recognizing these marriages,

these children don’t have ID cards and identity.

There is another dimension to this problem. Considering the repatriation of Afghan

refugees to their countries of origin, the destiny of 32 thousand Iranian women married

to Afghan men remains ambiguous, which is a serious challenge.

The fact is that according to nationality laws of Iran, if an Iranian man marries a foreign

nationality woman, the wife attains Iranian nationality but if an Iranian woman

marries a foreign nationality man, attains the nationality of the husband. Only those

who have Iranian father are considered Iranian.

It is worth mentioning that Afghan and Iraqi refugee women who form a population

of 1200000 people, during these two decades have been under circumstances where

they have not been able to enjoy cultural and social facilities of the country, however,

they have been able to use education, training and health facilities like Iranian

citizens. Whatever they have learned is considered a human investment.

E.4 PROMOTE WOMEN’S CONTRIBUTION TO FOSTERING A CULTURE

OF PEACE

One of the main achievements of international peace for Iranians, especially Iranian

women has been Nobel Peace Prize won by Ms. Shirin Ebadi, Iranian lawyer in

2003.

The other achievement was the initiative of the President of Iran in providing the

plan of Dialogue among Civilizations as a solution to the challenges of twenty first

century for a peaceful life and sustainable peace building in 2000.

2001 was named by UN recommended by Iranian president Mr.

Khatami, which had achievements for women of the world and also Iranian governmental

organizations through Women’s participation center, implemented specific

projects for women. The achievements of these measures are: opportunities for

research for women at universities and creation of tens of books through women

and active women at governmental and NGO level in speeches and international

conferences with a peaceful approach.

Support of Women’s governmental centers from NGO activities for supporting

refugee and displaced women even in the neighboring countries leaded, peace and

anti war coalitions, advocating dialogue among Iranian women and women from

other countries are other achievements.

Red Crescent, as a public organization, have had achievements in peace building

and attracting women and young girls for relief and first aid activities and preventing

refugee and displacement diseases and rendering emergency aid to women.

Government’s Actions

Hosting millions of Afghan and Iraqi refugees, most of them women and children

Forming expert teams to assess the situation of Iranian spouses of Afghan refugees

to defend their rights

Creating opportunities and friendly atmosphere to promote women’s role at deci-

Women and Armed Conflict

67 National Beijing+10 Report of

the Communication Network of

Women's NGOs of the I.R.I

sion making and defend decision building levels

Allocation of budget and facilities to women, especially war handicapped women,

in the imposed war of Iran and Iraq and martyr families (wife and daughters)

regarding employment, medical issues, insurance, housing and education.

Participation in international conferences regarding peace and agreements of cooperation

with some countries regarding women’s role in dialogue among civilizations

and expanding the culture of dialogue and peace.

Preserving art and scientific works regarding expansion of peace culture and dialogue

among civilizations, emphasizing on women’s’ role in the imposed war and

guarding peace.

Women’s NGO Activities

Women’s NGOs have not been active in this field, except those involved in peace

and refugee issues. They have conducted the following:

Celebrating days and events on peace and refugee (world refugee day, world peace

day) and also for martyrs of the imposed war

Training courses for Afghan teachers in Iran

Consultation and legal services to Afghan refugee women in Iran

Conducting research on the identity of Afghan women in the edge of tradition and

modernity

Creation and support of self-employed women’s network for Afghan refugee

women as heads of families residing in Iran

Coordination to attract people’s assistance for refugee camps in Iran

Supporting war affected women

Collecting biography of women martyrs and soldiers of the imposed war

Lack of interest among NGOs in supporting women and children in armed conflict

and allocation of few activities in supporting and guarding peace, represents the fact

that civil society has not put peace in its agenda. However, during the imposed war,

the CBOs and local community of women has been active in supporting and defending

women and children against damages of war.

People of Iran have been actively protesting against the invasion of the US to the

neighboring countries and its threats against Iran but the leadership initiative of

these movements have not been for NGOs. The reason, on one hand, is due to the

fact that these organizations have not been able to enter society levels and on the

other hand, the sensitivity of government on this issue and turning it to a national

issue has made civil society less responsible.

Considering the invasion of the US in two neighboring countries (Afghanistan,

Iraq) there are new movements and coalition to defend and guard peace which are

still at primary levels and have not been able to attract NGOs.

Considering the national and public potentials and sensitivity and the valuable

experience of women’s local communities in defending peace and anti war campaigns,

women’s NGOs should be more active in this regard in the future.

CNWN Activities

Formation of refugee women’s committees under the supervision of international

network commission

Participation at marginal meeting of human rights regarding discrimination against

Women and Armed Conflict

68 National Beijing+10 Report of

the Communication Network of

Women's NGOs of the I.R.I

minorities and women, Geneva 98

Participation and speech in the meeting of religion and peace in Jordan in 98

Statement of supporting women of Afghanistan

Protest against trampled rights of women in Kuwait and condemning killings in

Algeria

Celebrating international day of anti narcotic campaign in collaboration with 21

NGOs in 2002

Fourth National Development Plan

The government should implement the following within 6 months after the approval

of this law and make provisions for strategies of rendering services to war handicapped,

honorable families of martyr, handicapped and captives’ families (with an

approach of empowerment and improving their education, and cultural situation and

preserving their job and make provisions on implementation of the statement. In all

employment programs starting from employment of allocation of advantages the

handicapped families should be in priority and the government should apply for

their job stability (chapter eight, article 99).

Employing all national facilities and potentials to prevent transit of drugs and trade

in the country (Chapter eight, section 5 and article 97).

Providing freedom and security needed for growth of social organizations to preserve

children and women’s rights (Chapter eight, section D, article 100).

Advocating unity and respectful concepts regarding social groups and different

tribes in national culture (Chapter eight, article 100).

The government should take steps to advocate peace culture and lack of violence

and peaceful life among nations at international relations to achieve dialogue

among cultures and civilizations (Chapter nine, article 110).

The government should implement the following to promote security and social

order:

Public education and advocating culture of observing law, order and healthy environment

Expanding ways and border ways to promote information exchange with other

countries of the region and neighboring countries to stop crime, trafficking of stuff

and narcotics, illegal transit and …

Campaign against social disorder, political and civil violence (Chapter ten, sections

B and Z, article 119).

Challenges and Constraints

Illegal entrance of displaced people to Iran for work while Iran suffers unemployment

Legal gap regarding marriages among Iranians and refugees and their children’s status

Heavy expenses of living in Iran for refugees and lack of foreign and international

aid since 2005 considering the fact that Afghan women have more children than

Iranians and their expense of education and health is higher

Pressure of international threats over Iran to prevent nuclear peace technology in

the country for scientific practices

Massive production of drugs in eastern neighbor country (Afghanistan) of Iran and

Iran becoming the front line of drug trafficking

Women and Armed Conflict

69 National Beijing+10 Report of

the Communication Network of

Women's NGOs of the I.R.I

Serious physical and psychological damages for women and children living with a

addict head of family

Existence of many mine lands after the imposed war of Iraq against Iran and physical

threats for children.

Recommendation to the Government

Facilitate the employment of refugee women and providing education facilities for

refugee women in the fields of literacy, education, health, family planning and vocational

training

Facilitating legal fields and solving legal problems of marriage of Iranians with

refugees and legal support of their children

Facilitating international measures and support to refugee women and girls in

Islamic Republic of Iran and dissemination of information and advocacy regarding

efforts of Iran in supporting refugees in the last years

Reinforcing mine cleaning technologies and developing researches and facilitating

mine cleaning actions in marginal areas

Reinforcing women’s role and ensuring their presence in decision making levels

regarding issues of preserving peace and prevention advocacy

Encouraging researchers and authors to conduct researches and write books regarding

importance of peace, affects of armed conflict over women and children and

documentation of memories of war affected women and refugees of war

Promoting peace culture through schoolbooks and facilities for NGOs to advocate

peace and supporting displaced and refugee women and children.

Recommendation to NGOs

Organized attention to the issue of peace considering the geopolitical situation of

the country, threats of global imperialism leaded by the USA and defending Iraqi

and Afghan women and children from foreign invasion

Reinforcing social and public bases in supporting peaceful provisions of NGOs and

cooperation with Basij (Mobilized forces) and other organizations defending peace

Reinforcing international anti war coalitions in the region through active presence

in this coalition and hosting bases of defending peace as a country experienced in

peace issues

International advocacy regarding the services of Iranian nation and government in

hosting refugees and respecting peaceful life with refugees

Active presence in refugee camps and scattered communities in the country especially

at border areas to solve damages of refuge among women and children and

their empowerment by attracting support and assistance of the government

Planning projects for legal support of refugee women and children against crimes

such as drug trafficking that men impose to their families

Attention to cleaning mines in sensitive and residential areas and training of women

in those areas and attracting support of governmental authorities in this field.

Conclusion

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been drawn into various crisis situations and

armed conflicts. Besides experiencing 8 years of war due to neighboring two countries

involved in war, has been on the way of narcotics trafficking transit and human

Women and Armed Conflict

70 National Beijing+10 Report of

the Communication Network of

Women's NGOs of the I.R.I

trafficking among neighboring counties but has put its efforts to protect women and

children vulnerable against conflict situations.

Although, Iranian nation suffered major damages during imposed war of Saddam

against Iran, it has had a successful reconstruction period. The main portion of

Iran’s financial resources has been used to reconstruct damaged areas without asking

foreign assistance. During this period, Iran has also been costing hundreds of

Afghan refugees as a human responsibility and during these last two years Iraqi

population has been added.

The weak point of Islamic Republic of Iran is that considering the extensive capacities

of Iran during imposed war, hosting refugees and combating narcotic trafficking,

has always been away from advocating and advertising its achievements. The

main success of Iran in health has been population growth control and promotion of

reproductive health during war without any decline in health budgets. This means

that development has always been top in the agenda even at the time of war.

Considering that all governmental and armed forces efforts in preserving women in

armed conflicts are military there is no exact estimation of its achievements.

Programs and measures of government in supporting martyrs’ families and refugee

women and supportive measures shows that Iran has been successful in mitigating

the affects of armed conflict over women and children.

Graphs:

Women and Armed Conflict

71 National Beijing+10 Report of

the Communication Network of

Women's NGOs of the I.R.I