In a recent move, Iran ‘s parliament has passed a contentious hijab bill. It seeks to increase penalties for women and girls who do not adhere to the country’s strict dress code. This development has ignited widespread concern both within Iran and internationally. As it marks a significant tightening of regulations around clothing and hijab.
Under this new bill, individuals deemed to be dressed “inappropriately” in public could face prison sentences of up to 10 years, along with substantial fines. This comes after a three-year “trial” period was agreed upon by lawmakers. However, it’s important to note that the bill has yet to be approved by the Guardian Council. A conservative body of clerics and jurists with the authority to veto the legislation. If it is deemed inconsistent with the constitution and Sharia.
The timing of this bill is noteworthy, as it follows a year of protests that erupted after the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, who died while in custody of the morality police due to an allegedly improper hijab. During these nationwide demonstrations, women symbolically burned their headscarves or waved them in defiance against the clerical establishment. These protests were met with a severe crackdown by security forces, resulting in the reported deaths of hundreds of people.
Despite the return of the morality police to the streets and the installation of surveillance cameras. A growing number of women and girls have chosen to forgo wearing the hijab altogether in public. Under Iran’s interpretation of Sharia law, women and girls who have reached puberty are required to cover their hair with a hijab and wear loose-fitting clothing to conceal their figures. Currently, those who fail to comply face penalties ranging from a 10-day to two-month prison term or a fine ranging from 5,000 to 500,000 rials.
Hijab and Chastity Bill
The newly passed “Hijab and Chastity Bill” introduces what is referred to as a “fourth-degree” punishment, which includes prison sentences ranging from five to 10 years and fines between 180 million and 360 million rials (approximately $3,651 to $7,302). The bill also targets those who “promote nudity” or “mock the hijab” in the media and on social networks. It imposes fines on the owners of vehicles in which a female driver or passenger is not wearing the hijab.
One particularly concerning aspect of the bill is its provisions against those who “promote violating the dress code in an organized manner” or “in cooperation with foreign or hostile governments, media, groups, or organizations.” Such individuals could also face imprisonment for five to 10 years under the proposed legislation.
This development has prompted outrage from both domestic and international observers. Eight independent UN human rights experts have voiced their concerns. It describe the bill as a form of “gender apartheid” that systematically discriminates against women and girls. They warn that the bill’s harsh punishments could lead to violent enforcement and that it violates fundamental rights. It includes freedom of expression, peaceful protest, and access to essential services.
The Iran hijab bill fate now lies in the hands of the Guardian Council, whose decision will be closely watched as it has the potential to significantly impact the lives of women and girls in Iran. In the meantime, the global community continues to monitor the situation. It advocate for the protection of basic human rights and freedoms in Iran.