The Most Frequent Questions Asked from One Million Signatures Campaign
Tuesday 15 July 2008, by
What does the word campaign mean?
Camping in Persian language has been translated as "plan of action" which is a set of plans with specific aims and objectives. In fact campaign is the activities of official groups or organisation as well as non official or NGOs and individuals who want to achieve same or similar goals.
How did the One Million Signatures Campaign come about?
The peaceful gathering on 22nd June 2006 by different women’s organisations in one of the main squares of Tehran known as Haft e Tir that was a stem from the celebration of Solidarity of Iranian Women a week before. Sets of booklets had been prepared which identified particular discriminatory laws, this was the starting point for gathering by different women organisation to discuss the contents of the booklet and how to move forward towards change and equality, hence after 3 month of discussions campaign for One Million Signatures was established, by the 54 funding members with 118 signatures for change.
What are the bases of the One Million Signatures Campaign?
Campaign issued 3 final documents.
First: Forms for collecting signatures
Second: Our Manifesto which explains how we can achieve our objectives
Third: The minimum platform that will guarantee our commitment to joint activities until we collect One Million Signatures.
Which laws are identified as discriminatory by Campaign that requires Change?
One Million Signatures Campaign has specified the laws that need to change:
– Guarantee of Equal Rights in marriage
– Equal Rights for Divorce
– Rights to equal Guardianship of Children between Father and the Mother
– Equality in Inheritance
– Increase the ages of Girls and Boys to the age of 18 in the penal codes
– Eliminate Polygamy
– Right to travel abroad without preconditions equal to men
– Right to Education and Employment without pre conditions equal to men
– Elimination of the law that supports honour killing
– Elimination of the law for stoning
– Elimination of conditions ( Political Distinction) for candidacy for presidency from the constitution
Why does Campaign want to change the discriminatory laws?
It has been more than hundred years that Iranian women have been struggling for their rights. Historically form the constitutional era onwards women have struggled to establish justice and equality on issues such as education and women’s right to vote.
RE hence until equality between women and men has not been established, women have no choice but to continue with their struggle.
The laws have direct and serious effect on the lives of the citizens!
Where women don’t have the right to divorce and according to the law they are condemned to exist in any form of condition under the same roof as their husbands and there are no constitutional structures to give support to women who are being abused by their husbands and have to endure all sorts of problems such addiction, prostitution, unemployment and violence, sadly the numbers of husband killing in Iran is high only because the laws have created a dead end situation.
The laws for women from all walks of life has the same ailment and hence the rights of all women regardless of class and the in between layers are discriminatory.
Are the objectives of campaign in contradiction with Islam?
The family laws in all the Moslem countries are not the same! For instance in most Arabic or Moslem countries men don’t have the right to short term (SIGHE) marriage.
The law on inheritance in Moslem Egypt is different to other Moslem countries, the legal age of consent for girls and boys are different in all Moslem countries, the dress code is different and in different Moslem countries can become presidents, where as in Iran women are not allowed to stand for candidacy.
All these countries claim by their respective governments that their laws are within the constraints of Islamic religious law hence all these differences show that there are different interpretations of Islam so in accordance with our second premise which is in conjunction with Islam and with emphasis of authoritative such as Ayatollah Sanei and Ayatollah Jenati on the issue of inheritance and blood money.
Are the changes that the campaign wants is in conjunction with the Iranian government and its international commitment?
According to campaign’s statement Iranian government like many other governments in the world who are members of the UN Security Council have consented to international treaties.
In accordance with the treaty governments are bound to establish Justice and Equality for all regardless of Gender.
After the 1979 revolution Iran could have opt out of the treaty but they not, so what campaign wants is in line, not only with Islam but the government’s commitment too.
Why is campaign not a registered entity?
No one individual or political group owns or can be the claimant of the One Million Signatures Campaign.
One Million Signatures Campaign belongs to all and all those who have taken part in its advancement; hence no one is allegeable to register it officially.
Does the One Million Signatures Campaign have a leader?
Campaign is the non official network the size of Iran and all the Iranian’s abroad.
Every day people enter this fluid network and leave; hence no individual or group can claim the leadership of this huge movement. Campaign is a new movement with an abundant network with many centres as a result it can not have a leader or custodian.
Campaign members where ever they are in the world are guided by the 3 principal documents, Form, Plan and Instruction Booklet.
The movement is going forward and no influence in change of direction is possible by any one or any group and as Shirin Ebadi the Peace Noble Prize winner has stated "The movement can not be stopped even if we wanted to"
Why does One Million Signatures Campaign hold its meetings and workshops in its member’s homes?
Right from the outset we tried to use the public halls, that is being financed by us the tax payers but we were denied by the authorities, it was thought that we could be stopped at the first hurdle.
How does One Million Signatures Campaign secure its finances?
Our member’s unity in providing finances for One Million Signatures Campaign is how.
Campaign does not receive any funding from governmental or non governmental in Iran or outside and does not want to receive. All the funding we receive for campaign or for the School is acknowledged on our web sit.
What sort of difficulties does One Million Signatures Campaign face?
The biggest difficulty is access to the countries press. We have not been successful in using them, radio and TV have a policy silence towards the campaign activities and news, and our web sites are always in filtered state.
The other difficulty is the arrest and imprisonment of our member’s since day one.
The constraints in free movement which the government creates for the campaigners in canvassing and collecting signatures we constantly face police harassment and hence it delays and slows our work.
What do we do with the collected signatures’?
The collected signatures can be taken to the nearest branch or can email and set a date and time for meeting to be collected.
They can be posted to our address in Tehran or scanned and mailed.
Why have you not announced the number of signatures?
Because of a few practical reasons
a) Most of the signatures prefer to hand in theirs in at the end of the campaign and we have to respect their wishes.
b) Collection of the forms our campaigners are slow
c) Some campaigners because of their geographical situation have not found a trust worthy person to hand their forms in.
d) Not every one has emails or scanners.
e) The broadness of the movement geographically is another issue
f) Communication in the campaign has been weak
g) Collecting signatures by canvassing is a slow process in its self.
Finally what will happen?
Finally the signatures will be an official document that would warrant us to move to our second phase of the campaign which is the appeal to change by campaign’s solicitors, lawyers and jurists to put a motion for change to the authorities and of course until that all our members that have the opportunity to lobby the countries MPs should do so and make them aware that time for change of the discriminatory laws have arrived