What has the Center for Women and Family Affairs done to Oppose the Family Protection Bill?
Interview with Touran Valimorad
Friday 19 November 2010
Translated by: Sussan Tahmasebi
ILNA: The Secretary of the Coalition of Islamic Women has criticized the lack of action on the part of the Center for Women and Families in relation to the Family Protection Bill currently under review in the Parliament. In an interview with ILNA, Ms. Valimorad had the following to say: “what important issues has the Center defined as its mandate, when women, experts and women’s rights activists have no information on what these important issues actually are? When are this Center’s activities going to be beneficial to families and to women, if not today? As such, we are asking the Center for Women and Families, which is charged with coordinating and acting on women’s issues, to demand that the Judicial and Legal Commission of the Parliament remove from consideration Articles 22 and 23 of the Family Protection Bill.”
In this interview Touran Valimorad told ILNA that: “The Coalition of Islamic Women urges the Center for Women and Families to join efforts with the intention of ending discrimination against women.”
Valimorad continued by saying that: “given the fact that the Parliament is in a decision making capacity and its decisions impact the lives of the nation, we ask the Center for Women and Families associated with the Office of the President, to make the necessary contact with the Parliament in relation to the so called Family Protection Bill, with the aim of ensuring the human integrity of women and strengthening the family. We ask the Center to break its silence and end its indifference with respect to the approval of Articles within the Family Protection Bill which impact negatively the future of women and families.”
Valimorad asked: “Doesn’t the Center for Women and Families view itself to be accountable with respect to the following question: Where is a society heading, which teaches women that their reward for being committed to their husbands and families is nothing but victimhood?”
Valimorad asked: “has the Center for Women and Families ever thought how it is that a Bill introduced to Parliament is named the Family Protection Bill, when it fails to ensure the strengthening of families, the responsibility of men as husbands and fathers, the promotion of values and ethics and peace of mind and security of all members of the family? If the Center for Women and Families does not wish or is unable to prevent lawlessness or the approval of laws which are not enforced in favor of women, then when and in response to which actions does it want to work in favor of women and their rights? We as women have the right to ask what the Center for Women and Families has done with respect to the Family Protection Bill in the past few years.”
She continued further: “the day the government interfered in the Bill put forth by the Judiciary and introduced three Articles which were not in line with the other Articles set forth in the Bill by the Judiciary, where was the Center for Women and Families? Where has the Center for Women and Families been throughout this process—the initial approval of the Bill in Commissions and Parliament, its return to the Judicial and Legal Commission for further review, its return again to the full Parliament and its latest return for further review to expert Commissions—where women’s rights activists have consistently opposed the bill as a measure that further erodes and degrades women’s status and the position of the family? What important issues has the Center on Women and Families identified as its mandate, which experts, women and women’s rights activists have no information on? When does the Center on Women and Families wish to be effective on behalf of the rights of women and families?”
Valimorad emphasized further that: “The Judicial and Legal Commission of the Parliament has been involved in a defining process with respect to the rights of women and the status of families. It is now the time for the Center for Women and Families to provide expert opinion to the Parliamentary Commission.”
“Lawmakers need to have all the information necessary to write a law which promotes growth and wellbeing in society, and which sets out to solve social problems. If necessary research and information is not relayed to the members of Parliament they will write a law which not only does not reduce problems, but creates more problems for society. When there is no reliable information, then that gap will be filled with ignorance and ignorance is the root of misfortune."
Valimorad continued by saying: “these types of questions are plenty and we urge the Center for Women and Families, which is charged with coordinating issues related to women and families not to waste time in this respect and to ask the Judicial and Legal Commission of the Parliament, to refrain from acting hastily in this matter and to wait until it has the necessary and correct information before making a decision on this decisive Bill.”
Valimorad continued by saying that: “the most important criticism regarding Articles 22 and 23 of the Family Protection Bill is not only that it does not move us forward with respect to Article 16 of the Family Protection Law of 1975, it constitutes a step backwards, and eases even further the restrictions placed on polygamy. Additionally, it does not address the current lack of implementation and enforcement mechanisms brought about by the elimination of Article 17 of the Family Protection Law of 1975. Such a situation will promote lawlessness and the infringement of rights of women and families by men, who will benefit from a more accommodating law [to practice polygamy]. Unfortunately given all the commotion surrounding the proposed Family Protection Bill, it seems that the Bill has already caused cultural disarray, as we are now witnessing increased insults and verbal belittlement of women in society and in the family. The negative impact of putting forth such a proposal, which lacks expert input, on society on women and our image at the international level, is an issue worth examining in and of itself.”
Valimorad continued by saying that: “we ask the Center for Women and Families to not waste any more time and to prevent this measure. We want the Center for Women and Families to act in accordance with its mandate, its human and Islamic obligation and in line with its order, which is to elevate women and strengthen families. We demand that the Center for Women and Families to prevent such a weak and insulting law from being adopted—a law which hurts the family, society and our Islamic nation. We demand that the Center for Women and Families ask for the removal of Articles 22 and 23 from the Family Protection Bill so that a complete set of laws which does not sacrifice Islamic fundamentals to special case scenarios, is introduced to Parliament in accordance with the rules and outlook set forth by the Quran for families.”