Iran has finally approved a long-awaited bill to help better protect women against domestic violence and criminalise those responsible.
The draft bill has been named as ‘Protection, Dignity and Security of Women Against Violence’ and was given the go-ahead by the cabinet on Sunday. Massoumeh Ebtekar, Iran’s Vice President for women and family affairs, announced the news on Twitter saying the bill was the result of ‘hundreds of hours of expertise’ and dedicated it to ‘worthy and patient Iranian women’.
Iran is among fewer than 50 countries that do not have specific domestic violence laws compared to more than half the Middle East and North Africa region countries, according to rights group Human Rights Watch.
The bill defines violence as ‘any behaviour inflicted on women due to gender, vulnerable position or type of relationship, and inflicts harm to their mind, body, personality and dignity, or restricts or deprives them of legal rights and freedoms.’ This means that acts such as forced marriage and sexual harassment in public would be classed as a crime.
The executive has approved the bill, and will be sent to parliament before finally arriving at a judicial and religious entity called the Guardian Council.