The recent killing of Mahsa Amini by Iran’s “Guidance Patrol”, also known as the ‘morality police’, for “improper” wearing of the hijab has led to another important uprising in the country. Led by women demanding freedom from patriarchy and from all forms of systemic oppression and the regime that upholds it, bravely risking their lives every time they step out onto the streets in Iran, this is a demonstration in defence of justice that CUPE Ontario unreservedly supports.

We echo our allies in Iran’s labour and social justice movements in condemning the killing of Mahsa (Jina) Amini and the continued suppression of the protest movement. And we express our heartfelt condolences and sincere sympathies to the grieving family of Mahsa Amini and the people of Iran.

In this moment, more than ever, we need to clearly state our support for the rights of women in all their diversity. That means unequivocally supporting a women’s right to not wear the hijab as well as their right to wear the hijab. The struggle is for justice, equity, the freedom of choice and a woman’s right to her body, and against the patriarchal, misogynist policies and structures that deny these rights.

We also need to be clear that the justified condemnation of the Iranian State cannot become a pretext for colonialist intervention and continued imperialism. CUPE Ontario respects the self-determination of the progressive and social justice movements around the world. Our support and solidarity with the struggles of women and other oppressed peoples for their rights include opposition to all imperialist interventions under any pretext. We say this with the pressing understanding that women always bear the brunt of military interventions and economic sanctions around the world, including in Iran.

Today, we call on the Iranian government to stop the brutal crackdown on protesters, the majority of whom are women, youth, workers and marginalized people. We call on the government to free detained protesters and jailed trade union activists and political prisoners. And we call on all who are in pursuit of justice to be in solidarity with our sisters in Iran and to centre and elevate the voices of women from within Iran.