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Irwin Cotler, MP




Posted on April 30, 2015


Experts, former prisoners OF CONSCIENCE, U.N. Special rapporteur to testify before parliament

Canadian MPs Irwin Cotler, James Bezan, and Paul Dewar are co-sponsoring Iran Accountability Week, to take place in the Canadian Parliament from April 30th to May 7th. The week’s events will address the four-fold Iranian threat: nuclear, terrorist, hegemonic, and – in particular – widespread and systematic violations of human rights.

Cotler also serves as Co-Chair of 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.

Said Cotler, “Iran Accountability Week occurs this year as the nuclear negotiations have been overshadowing if not sanitizing the Iranian regime’s massive domestic repression. That repression includes an unprecedented execution binge, with some 45 people murdered in one week in April alone; the intensified persecution of the Baha’i; 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”.

The planned events for Iran Accountability Week include:

  • An opening press conference TODAY, Thursday April 30th at 12:00 PM in the Charles Lynch Press Gallery (130-S) with Parliamentarians who will advocate on behalf of their political prisoners as part of the Global Iranian Political Prisoner Advocacy Project.
  • Testimony before the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Human Rights TODAY, Thursday, April 30th at 1:00 PM by Marina Nemat and Shakib Nasrullah – both survivors of Evin Prison in Iran – and by Professor Payam Akhavan, an Iranian-Canadian legal expert;
  • A Public Forum chaired by Irwin Cotler with Marina Nemat and Shakib Nasrullah TODAY, April 30th at 7:00 PM in the Commonwealth Room (238-S Centre Block). This event offers Parliamentarians, the public, and the media the opportunity to discuss Iranian human rights violations and to consider what can be done to address them;
  • Testimony before the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Human Rights on Tuesday, May 5th at 1:00 PM by Mark Dubowitz and Ali Alfoneh from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and by Mark Lagon, President of Freedom House;
  • A closing press conference on May 7th at 11:30 AM with special guests Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, and former political prisoner Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist and filmmaker; and
  • Testimony before the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Human Rights on Thursday, May 7th at 1:00 PM by Dr. Ahmed Shaheed and Maziar Bahari.

Iran Accountability Week seeks to sound the alarm on the human rights plight of the Iranian people. This year marks the fourth annual Iran Accountability Week, during which MPs and Senators from all parties join in common cause to hold Iran to account.