Since the death of Mahsa Jina Amini on 16 September 2022 while in the custody of Iran’s Morality Police for non-compliance with the compulsory Hijab law, many, mostly young, women supported by their male allies and families have engaged in non-violent protests across Iran. They adopted the ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ slogan to demand changes in their country, including an end to discriminatory laws and practices against women.

The Iranian authorities’ violent repression of ongoing protests in Iran is the latest in a cycle of attacks waged by the Iranian Regime against people expressing their legitimate grievances in Iran. Emboldened by rampant impunity, the Iranian authorities have consistently dealt with waves of mass protests since then with a militarised response. Over 500 protestors have been killed, with many more injured, including hundreds losing one or both eyes due to the pellet guns used against the protestors, and thousands arrested and imprisoned. The Regime has sentenced at least 26 individuals to death in connection to the protests, and executed at least 7 men based on legal proceedings that lacked due process and failed to meet international human rights standards.

As a result hundreds of women and men have fled Iran to escape endless persecution and have gone to neighbouring countries such as Turkey to seek refuge. The number of dissidents who have left Iran since the protests started is unknown.

Both Iranian dissidents and asylum seekers are in a desperate situation waiting for safe passage to countries that can provide them with safety and security. Reports show that Iranian dissidents and LGBTQI community in Turkey are afraid of targeted attacks from the regime. Iranians are calling for safe passage and unrecognised admission of Iranians to European countries.

To shed light on this ongoing situation that is no longer highlighted by mainstream media, it is important to recognise the efforts of activists and organisations that continue to work tirelessly to raise awareness for peaceful reformShirin Ebadi one of Iran’s first female judges and Narges Mohammadi were both awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2023.

How is WILPF supporting Iranian activists?

There is much work to be done and WILPF is proud to stand with Iranian feminists from the diaspora who are working to bring attention to the human rights violations of women and members of the Iranian LGBQT+ community. Here are some of the ways in which we are supporting Iranian movement:

Build Stronger Movements

WILPF connects Iranian feminist activists to feminist movements cross-regionally and internationally to create alliances and build stronger movements to address human rights challenges and gender discrimination in Iran.

Develop Strategies

We convene activists to discuss key challenges and develop strategies to strengthen their movement for human rights and feminist peace in Iran.

Create Advocacy Opportunities

WILPF identifies and creates advocacy opportunities to support the campaigns and priorities of Iranian feminist activists.

Monitor the Human Rights Situation

WILPF and Iranian feminist activists will monitor the human rights situation and share recommendations and analysis to keep the spotlight on this untenable human rights situation. This includes analysis on the systemic nature of gender-based violence in Iran, which likely amounts to gender persecution and apartheid.

Additional Reading

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21 September 2023

Resurfaced Memories When the Movement Started in Iran


5 October 2022

WILPF Releases a Statement to Support the Iranian People’s Uprising against Tyranny


31 October 2022

Iran uprisings: How women are defying body conscription and demanding a future of feminist

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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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