by Humans Rights Watch
Turning Away Female Spectators Violates Assurances Made by Volleyball Federation
(New York) – Iranian authorities’ decision to prevent women from attending an international beach volleyball tournament this week, despite prior assurances, is a disappointing step backwards for women’s equal access to attend public sporting events. Iran is hosting the first men’s beach volleyball tournament in Iran, on Kish Island, from February 15 to 19, 2016.
Although an official 2012 ban prohibits Iranian women from attending volleyball matches, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) announced on February 7, 2016, that it received assurances from organizers of the Kish Island Open that, “the event will be open to fans from all age groups and genders. This will include families and women.” This announcement was greeted with cautious optimism by Iranian women’s rights activists, who are aware that until the ban is officially lifted, women who seek to attend volleyball matches or other sporting events remain at risk of arrest, harassment, or other forms of retaliation.