International Network of Human Rights | Europe
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Red Internacional de Derechos Humanos | Europa

Narges Mohammadi’s Unyielding Struggle for Human Rights: An Example of Determination and Commitment 

Narges Mohammadi is an Iranian activist fighting for full respect of women's rights in Iran. Arrested 13 times, sentenced five times to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes, she was imprisoned again in 2021. The main face of the "Women, Life, Freedom" movement, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2023.

Narges Mohammadi, born in Zanjan in 1972 and raised in Kurdistan, is a courageous Iranian activist whose dedication to the defense of human rights and freedom of expression has led her to face multiple detentions and persecutions by Iranian authorities. Her activism began during her student years at Qazvin International University, where she co-founded the Enlightened Students Association, advocating for freedom of expression and student rights in Iran, resulting in two detentions during student protests. 

After her university years, she focused on journalism, writing about women’s rights and human rights in the Payam-e Hajr newspaper, which was confiscated by the order of prosecutor Mortazavi. Throughout her life, she faced threats, job loss, and convictions for her affiliation with the Association of Human Rights Defenders. Mohammadi became the vice president of the association and led the Women’s Committee, contributing to the advancement of human rights in Iran. 

Her work led her to face numerous challenges, including prison sentences, deteriorating health in jail, and unfounded accusations of collaboration with ISIS. Despite it all, Mohammadi defied the verdicts and continued her fight. In May 2021, she received a sentence that included lashes and imprisonment, and the execution of this sentence took place in November 2021. Her tireless efforts were recognized with awards such as the World Press Freedom Prize, and she was included in the BBC’s 2022 list of the 100 most influential women in the world. 

Narges Mohammadi has played a prominent role in advocating for women’s rights in Iran, tirelessly working to promote gender equality in an environment where women often face discrimination and restrictions in areas such as mandatory hijab, access to education and employment, as well as the fight against domestic violence. Her critical voice and courageous activism have been crucial in highlighting and addressing these issues. 

The activist has stood out as a tireless advocate for student rights, promoting freedom of expression and association within Iran’s educational institutions. Her essential work has involved exposing and opposing government repression against students, encompassing arbitrary detentions, torture, and executions. Beyond her national impact, her role on the international stage has been crucial, raising her voice in conferences and events and significantly contributing to raising awareness about the human rights situation in Iran. She has been internationally recognized, including the Nobel Peace Prize, as an acknowledgment of her relentless work and a message of support to all human rights defenders worldwide. 

Mohammadi strongly believes that Iranian society demands democratic rights. Students, workers, teachers, women, and youth have clear demands, and the government is obligated to respond with compelling and satisfactory answers. These demands are not just a concern of the elite in society but represent the will of the entire Iranian people. Her struggle and courage have made her a prominent advocate for human rights on the international stage. 

The story of Narges Mohammadi is a strong example of courage and commitment in the defense of human rights in Iran. Despite facing imprisonment and persecution in the Islamic Republic, Mohammadi remains steadfast in her dedication to justice and equality. Her international recognition highlights the importance of her work, serving as inspiration and a call to global action in the fight for human rights. Mohammadi is a constant reminder of the need to support those who tirelessly work for a fairer world free from oppression. Her courage and determination are a beacon of hope for all defenders of fundamental rights. 

Narges Mohammadi’s actions primarily fall into three categories: 

  • Legal Advocacy: Mohammadi has devoted her efforts to promoting women’s rights in Iran through advocacy and legal defense. She has represented women who have faced arrests or imprisonment due to the violation of discriminatory laws, such as the mandatory Islamic veil. Additionally, she has actively participated in campaigns to reform Iranian laws and protect women’s fundamental rights. 
  • Education and Awareness: The activist has worked tirelessly to educate the population about women’s rights in Iran. Through lectures, writings, and interviews, she has addressed issues such as gender violence and discrimination, shedding light on the various forms of oppression faced by women in Iran. Her commitment also extends to raising awareness among Iranian youth about women’s rights. 
  • Activism: She has been an active participant in protests and demonstrations, raising her voice to demand respect for human rights in Iran. She stands out for opposing government repression against human rights activists and has participated in hunger strikes and other forms of protest to highlight human rights violations in the country. 

The International Network for Human Rights – Europe (RIDHE) plays a crucial role in supporting and defending women activists like Narges Mohammadi, considering and comprehensively developing the actions she undertakes. The organization is dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights worldwide, with a special focus on gender equality and women’s rights. RIDHE provides women activists, such as Mohammadi, with resources, visibility, and a platform to make their voices heard. Through its work, RIDHE empowers women activists and contributes to the strengthening of the global network of human rights defenders, creating a positive impact in the struggle for a more just and equitable world.