UN Intervention: Iran’s New Proposed Hijab Law Labelled as ‘Gender Apartheid’  

By Roos Döll

In a scathing condemnation, United Nations experts have criticized Iran’s proposed hijab law, characterizing it as a form of “gender apartheid.” The controversial legislation has sparked international outrage and ignited a passionate debate about gender rights and religious freedom within Iran.

Iran aims to implement a draconian bill on hijab-wearing. The 70-article bill proposes harsh punitive measures for women and girls who do not abide by wearing a hijab, a veil worn around a female Muslim’s head to cover hair and the neck. This recent announcement has drawn widespread condemnation from the international community. United Nations experts, in particular, have raised alarm bells over the potential consequences of such legislation on the rights and freedoms of Iranian women.

The proposed law, as reported by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), represents a significant shift towards enforcing conservative dress codes on women in Iran. Under the legislation, women would be required to adhere to a specific dress code, which includes the compulsory wearing of the hijab in all public spaces. Violators of the law could face severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

The UN experts, whose expertise spans various aspects of human rights, have expressed serious concerns about the proposed hijab law’s impact on gender equality and women’s rights. They argue that such measures perpetuate gender discrimination, stifle women’s autonomy, and infringe upon their fundamental human rights.

In a joint statement, the experts stated, “This proposed hijab law amounts to a grave violation of women’s rights and represents a clear form of gender apartheid. It not only restricts the freedom of women but also perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes and reinforces patriarchal norms.”

The experts further emphasized that international human rights standards guarantee individuals the right to freedom of religion and belief, as well as the right to manifest their religion or belief in practice. These rights include the freedom to choose one’s attire based on personal convictions. Iran’s proposed hijab law, however, would compel women to dress in a manner contrary to their beliefs, violating their right to religious freedom.

The international outcry over this issue has been further intensified by the recent report from CNN, which highlights the global response to Iran’s proposed hijab law. The UN experts’ strong condemnation of the legislation has ignited discussions about the importance of preserving women’s rights and religious freedom within Iran and worldwide.

Various governments and human rights organizations have joined the chorus of voices denouncing the proposed law. They argue that such legislation not only infringes upon individual rights but also hampers progress towards gender equality. The UN experts’ characterization of the law as “gender apartheid” underscores the gravity of the situation.

The debate surrounding Iran’s proposed hijab law highlights a broader struggle for women’s rights and autonomy in Iran, where women have been at the forefront of advocating for greater freedoms and equality. The proposed law threatens to roll back the progress made in recent years, putting Iranian women’s rights in jeopardy.

As the international community continues to voice its concerns, pressure is mounting on the Iranian government to reconsider its stance on the proposed hijab law. Advocates for human rights and gender equality are calling for a respectful and open dialogue that respects the rights and choices of all individuals, regardless of their gender or religious beliefs.

In conclusion, Iran’s proposed hijab law has come under severe criticism from United Nations experts, who have labelled it as “gender apartheid.” The legislation’s potential impact on women’s rights and religious freedom has sparked international outrage and a global debate about the importance of safeguarding individual freedoms and gender equality. As the world watches, the Iranian government faces growing pressure to reevaluate its stance on this contentious issue, with the hope that respect for human rights and women’s autonomy will ultimately prevail.


Hi! My name is Roos Döll and I am currently a Political Science undergraduate student. I am originally Dutch but grew up living in different countries in Africa and the Middle East. Due to my upbringing, I developed a strong passion for advocating for viable policies that target insufficient climate governance, economic/social inequality and human rights violations.