Fifteen-point plan flows from testimony, recommendations of Iran Accountability Week
Ottawa – June 4, 2015 – MP Irwin Cotler today issued an Action Plan to combat human rights violations in Iran anchored in, and inspired by, the witness testimony and recommendations of the Fourth Annual Iran Accountability Week, which included also a Take-Note Parliamentary debate, a unanimous resolution of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Human Rights, and the Global Iranian Political Prisoner Advocacy Project where Parliamentarians advocate for political prisoners. The Action Plan is a blue print for governmental, parliamentary, and civil society advocacy.
“Nuclear negotiations have been overshadowing if not sanitizing the Iranian regime’s massive domestic repression,” warned Cotler. “That repression includes an unprecedented execution binge, with 12 people hanged this past Monday morning alone; the intensified persecution of the Bahá’í religious minority; criminalization of dissent; and the continuing unjust imprisonment of more than 900 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience including women, human rights defenders, ethnic and religious leaders, journalists, bloggers, students, trade union leaders – in a word, the leaders of Iranian civil society – many under threat of execution”.
In particular, the Action Plan calls for: “[sounding] the alarm on the four-fold Iranian threat – nuclear, terrorist, incitement, and massive domestic repression”; “issue-linkage between any nuclear agreement with Iran and measures to improve the situation of human rights”; Iran ceasing and desisting from its criminalization of freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly; the release of Iranian political prisoners; and the imposing of targeted sanctions against human rights violators.
Cotler co-chairs both the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran and the Global Iranian Political Prisoner Advocacy Project, which pairs parliamentarians with Iranian prisoners of conscience on whose behalf they advocate.
Please find the complete action plan below.
BEYOND IRAN ACCOUNTABILITY WEEK: A 15-POINT ACTION PLAN FOR GOVERNMENTS, PARLIAMENTARIANS AND CIVIL SOCIETY LEADERS
Parliament recently concluded the fourth annual Iran Accountability Week, which occurred as the nuclear negotiations have been overshadowing – if not sanitizing – the Iranian regime’s massive domestic repression. That repression includes an unprecedented execution binge; the intensified persecution of the Baha’i and other religious and ethnic minorities; the criminalization of dissent; and the continuing unjust imprisonment of more than 900 political prisoners including women, human rights defenders, ethnic and religious leaders, journalists, bloggers, artists, students, lawyers, trade union leaders – in a word, the leaders of Iranian civil society – many under threat of execution.
The following fifteen-point Action Plan is anchored in, and inspired by, Iran Accountability Week and includes:
- Expose, unmask, and hold Iran accountable for its critical mass of violations of human rights, and in particular, ensure that the ongoing P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran will neither overshadow nor sanitize the Iranian regime’s widespread and systematic violations of human rights.
- Call for issue-linkage between any nuclear agreement with Iran and measures to improve the situation of human rights in Iran by ensuring that violations of human rights are raised by the Government of Canada in all bilateral and international fora.
- Sound the alarm on the four-fold Iranian threat – nuclear, terrorist, incitement, and massive domestic repression – the whole constitutive of crimes against humanity.
- Call upon the Iranian regime to declare a moratorium on its state policy of wanton executions, where Iran leads the world in executions per capita. Indeed, the nuclear negotiations have overshadowed an unprecedented execution binge, with over 400 murdered in 2015 alone.
- Advance the Global Iranian Political Prisoners Global Advocacy Project [GIPPAP] whereby Canadian Parliamentarians “adopt” Iranian political prisoners on whose behalf they advocate. Indeed, two of the prisoners previously advocated for under GIPPAP – Nasrin Sotoudeh and Hamid Ghassemi-Shall – have been freed. Political prisoners who escape Iran have consistently stated that international attention to their case was their best protection. In his testimony, Iranian-Canadian journalist and former political prisoner Maziar Bahari attributed his release from Evin Prison to global advocacy, such that the participation of Canada’s parliamentarians in GIPPAP can help mean the difference between life and death for Iranian political prisoners.
- Urge the Iranian regime to release political prisoners and prisoners of conscience including, in particular, the seven imprisoned leaders of the Baha’i; senior cleric and long-time advocate for religious freedom in Iran, Mr. Hossein Kazamani Boroujerdi; Iranian-Canadian Saeed Malekpour; and Pastor Saeed Abedini.
- Call upon Iran to cease and desist from its persistent and pervasive assault on the rights of women, including cruel and inhuman treatment and punishment, such as stoning and flogging.
- Call upon Iran to cease and desist from its assault on religious freedom, including its persecution and prosecution of Iran’s largest religious minority – the Baha’i community – and other religious and ethnic minorities, including 18 Christians recently imprisoned.
- Call upon Iran to cease and desist from its assault on the fundamental freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association – the criminalization of dissent – and the shuttering of media outlets.
- Support targeted sanctions against the major Iranian human rights violators who have either ordered, or are complicit in, the wanton executions and massive assaults on human rights, pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) and in accordance with the motions passed unanimously by the House of Commons on March 25th and by the Senate on May 5th.
- Call upon the Iranian regime to uphold the rule of law, protect the independence of the judiciary, end its culture of impunity, and cease and desist from its arrest and imprisonment of lawyers for no other reason than they have defended victims of human rights violations.
- Call on the government to continue its leadership in the annual resolution at the UN General Assembly Resolution on the human rights situation in Iran, mainstream concerns with Iranian human rights throughout the UN system, and work to secure entry to Iran for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran.
- Urge the Iranian regime to respect the rights of all Iranians to run for elected office, and to increase the transparency and accountability of the Iranian electoral process by allowing elections to be monitored by independent election observers, beginning with parliamentary elections in 2016.
- Seek to ensure that Canada will be neither a safe haven nor a sanctuary for Iranian human rights violators seeking to immigrate or to launder their ill-gotten assets in Canada.
- Express solidarity with the people of Iran who are themselves the targets and victims of the Iranian regime’s massive assault on human rights.
The Iran Accountability Week involved witness testimony from experts such as Dr. Ahmad Shaheed – UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran; former political prisoners and prisoners of conscience Maziar Bahari, Marina Nemat, and Shakib Nasrullah; McGill Law Professor Payam Akhavan; Freedom House head Mark Lagon; Foundation for Defense of Democracy leaders Mark Dubowtiz and Ali Alfoneh; a Take-Note Parliamentary Debate; and the Global Iranian Political Prisoner Advocacy Project, where Parliamentarians advocated on behalf of political prisoners.
This Action Plan is also based upon the witness testimony and recommendations of previous Iran Accountability Weeks.