A song for freedom

12 June 2005

Women! The presence of Life The era of slavery is over Another world is possible Our struggle makes it This voice is the voice of freedom This call is the call of freedom Women’s freedom is possible This movement makes it

When you visit "Iranian Feminist Tribune":http://www.iftribune.org , you will hear this song. It is the song of the Iranian Women’s movement in preparation for women’s demonstration in front of Tehran University on June 12, 2005.

The Iranian women’s movement is an independent movement. It is not officially tied to any candidate. Iranian women of various political affiliations are objecting to the violation of women’s rights in Iran, such as the Iranian constitution which allows women to vote but bars them from candidacy in the presidential elections.

Activist women from all walks of life agree: it is unjust to ask women for their vote but ignore their demands. In 1997, Khatami was elected primarily due to women’s massive participation in the election. In the 1999 city council elections 7,000 women became candidates and 781 were elected to public office. Out of those elected, 484 came from rural areas. Iranian women's demands for a fair share in their country’s political decision-making processes is no longer limited to urban women.

If it is unlawful, as some hard-liners argue, to use women instrumentally in advertisements, then it is equally unfair to ask them to carry banners for different presidential candidates but prohibit them from becoming candidates in their country’s most important election. All 89 potential women candidates were rejected by the Guardian Council.

The Iranian women’s movement is a non-violent movement. This demonstration is taking place at a critical juncture in the presidential race when the hardliners are afraid of engaging in violent skirmishes for fear of losing voter support for their preferred candidates. Half of the presidential candidates are ex-military/Sepahi officers: Larijani, Ahmadi-Nejad, Rezaei and Qalibaf. If violence erupts, they will loose voters. The world is watching Iran. It is critical that all freedom-loving people support the women’s movement. Any violence towards female protesters should be condemned internationally.

Elham Gheytanchi

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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