The U.N.'s human rights office Friday assailed a new law passed by Iran's parliament which increases jail terms and fines for female citizens who do not comply with the nation's strict Islamic dress code on head coverings and modest clothing.
Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani said the decree — fully named the Bill to Support the Family by Promoting the Culture of Chastity and Hijab — is both repressive and demeaning.
She said under the new rules, women or girls found not following the strict implementation of the dress code could face 10 years in jail, where the previous term was two months. Fines have been raised from the equivalent of about $12 to about $8,500.
The new law comes about a year after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in morality police custody in September 2022 three days after being arrested for allegedly not wearing her hijab in accordance with Islamist rules.
Her death, following what witnesses said was a physical assault perpetrated by authorities, triggered months of mostly peaceful nationwide protests that posed the greatest challenge yet to the 44-year rule of Iran's ruling Shiite clerics.
Shamdasani told reporters Friday, "Unfortunately we haven't seen much progress in spite of the outpouring of outrage following the killing of Mahsa Amini. The situation has not improved with regards to the rights of women in Iran."
She said the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said the "draconian" dress code bill "flagrantly flies in the face of international law, and that it must be shelved."
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.