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17. June 2010

Shirin Ebadi im Wiener Rathaus

Shirin Ebadi in Vienna

Nobel Peace Prize laureate shares thoughts on human rights in Iran

On June 16, Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, spoke in Vienna on the status of human rights in Iran. Dr. Ebadi was in Vienna to receive the Felix Ermacora Prize for Human Rights in the Austrian Parliament.

Dr. Ebadi spoke of the inconsistencies of Iran’s law with its culture. While the Iranian government has signed major international human rights conventions, human rights are not protected in the country. Discrimination on the basis of gender, faith, and opinion is widespread, and arrested persons are frequently not allowed to meet with their lawyers until the trial. At the same time, women are now represented in all fields of employment and 65% of university students are female, yet gender inequality is entrenched in Iranian law. Corruption is rampant, capital punishment widespread, and official figures estimate over 10 million people to live below the poverty line.

Iran engages in terrible human rights abuses but criticizes other countries, including the US, China, and Israel, for doing the same. Dr. Ebadi made clear that while these abuses both exist and must be dealt with, such abuses do not excuse or legitimize violence and discrimination in Iran.

Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel introduced the event, while Dr. Ursula Plassnik moderated the question and answer session.

Women without Borders hosted the first event at which Dr. Ebadi spoke after winning the Nobel Peace Prize.


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