(ATR) Human Rights Watch wants the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) to urge Iranian leaders to repeal the ban on women attending volleyball matches.
An all-male crowd cheers on the Iranian men's volleyball team during a 2015 World League match (Getty Images)
"The FIVB can and should make sure it is not cost-free for Iran if it keeps excluding women," Minky Worden, director of HRW global initiatives, said in a statement. On Monday, HRW released the statement in Persian, the official language of Iran.
At issue, Worden says, are FIVB policies that "haven't worked."
Next year, Iran will host a Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament and an FIVB World League tournament. HRW listed four demands ahead of the events in 2016. Women were permitted to attend volleyball matches until 2012, HRW said.
The NGO met with FIVB to discuss how the federation might use its influence in Iran to invoke change. Around the Rings
contacted FIVB on Monday for comment. Richard Baker, FIVB communications director, followed up with ATR
and his statement will be featured in an upcoming story.
In the wake of the meeting, leaders of the FIVB issued a statement to HRW asking, "to work together to strive for gender equality in Iran since there is an issue of not only local women not being able to attend men's volleyball matches but also men not being able to attend women's volleyball matches."
Through its Nine Goals project, the FIVB added, it will push for local leaders to allow families to attend volleyball matches in Iran. "The FIVB has made significant progress working closely with local authorities in trying to improve the situation in Iran with families being able to attend volleyball matches a key aim and believes that with the help of Human Rights Watch, further headway can be made."
HRW recently launched a digital campaign "in line with international human rights standards and the Olympic Charter" using the hashtag Watch4Women to broadly promote respect for women's rights in Iran.
Written by Nicole Bennett
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