(16 March 2008) While leading international figures continue to associate themselves with a statement of support for equal rights and solidarity with Iranian women’s rights campaigners, authorities have prevented several from traveling abroad, bringing discriminatory laws and practices into international focus.

Mary Robinson, Vice President of the Club of Madrid and former Irish President and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland and Member of the Club of Madrid, joined six Nobel Peace laureates and hundreds of other leading activists in endorsing the statement promoted by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.Meanwhile, three activists in the Women’s Cultural Center and One Million Signatures Campaign have been banned from traveling to participate in international women’s day observances.

“These cases suggest fear on the part of the authorities, and a futile attempt to contain the truth about the oppression of women in Iran,” stated the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Mansoureh Shojaiee’s passport was confiscated by a government agent as she was proceeding to a flight to Dubai on March 10, and she was banned from traveling. She had been warned that her travel would be considered “against national security,” but insisted her trip was legal.

In a case that has brought widespread negative international publicity for Iran, Parvin Ardalan was prevented on March 3 from traveling to Sweden to receive the prestigious Olaf Palme Award. Officials confronted her after she had boarded an Air France flight, seized her passport, and summoned her to court.

A month before, Talaat Taghinia was banned from traveling to Morocco as a tourist. Her passport was taken away and she received a receipt for following up.