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Irwin Cotler, MP


Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Canada)
Senator Mark Kirk (Illinois, USA)

MP Michael Danby (Australia)
Senator Joseph Lieberman (Connecticut, USA)
MP Denis MacShane (UK)
MP Fiamma Nirenstein (Italy)
MP Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania)

Irwin Cotler co-founds Interparliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran

Posted on September 27, 2011

Liberal Justice and Human Rights Critic, Irwin Cotler, Counsel to political prisoners, and signatory to the landmark DISSIDENTS’ Declaration for universal Human Rights – unanimously adopted at the first ever gathering of political prisoners at the Global Summit Against Persecution and Discrimination – announced three initiatives at a press conference today in Ottawa.

The initiatives are as follows:

  1. An Action Plan for Canada and the international community to combat the culture of impunity at the United Nations and hold those engaged in widespread and systematic violations of human rights to account (attached summary of the “Dissidents’ Declaration”);
  2. Propose for adoption by the United  Nations General Assembly draft resolutions unanimously recommended by the Global Summit (attached “Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic and in China”); including calling for the release of Chinese political prisoners Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo, disappeared political prisoner Gao Zhisheng, and Wang Binzhang, all represented by MP Irwin Cotler; and
  3. The formation of an Inter-parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran – composed of Parliamentarians from around the world – to promote and protect the case and cause of Iranian human rights as a priority on the national and international agenda (attached “Action Plan”)

ACTION PLAN of the Inter-parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran

In light of Ahmadinejad’s ongoing systematic and widespread assaults on the rights of his own people – evident in the pervasive and persistent assault on women, students, workers, dissidents, journalists, and academics – and those who would defend them – tantamount to crimes against humanity against his own people – Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk have joined together to found the Inter-parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran. Other parliamentarians include Michael Danby (Australia), Denis MacShane (United Kingdom), Fiamma Nirenstein (Italy), and Salih Mahmoud Osman (Sudan).

The Action Plan will include the following:

1. To internationalize the advocacy of the “IRANIAN Dissidents’ awareness program” – the initiative launched by Senator Mark Kirk – to support the courageous men and women on the frontlines of the struggle for human rights in Iran;

2. To call for enhanced – and enforced – sanctions against major Iranian human rights violators;

3. To call for the implementation of the recommendations in the unanimous report adopted by the  Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development entitled, “Ahmadinejad’s Iran: A Threat to Peace, Human Rights and International Law”; and

4. To refer the state-sanctioned incitement to Genocide by President Ahmadinejad, and other Iranian leaders – in violation of the Prohibition Against Incitement to Genocide in the Genocide Convention– to appropriate UN Agencies for account.


Recent Statements:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On eve of Iranian parliamentary elections, Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran condemns “massive state-sanctioned assault on human rights of Iranian people”


Cotler (CA), Kirk (US), MacShane (UK), Danby (AU), Nirenstein (IT), Zingeris (LT) issue joint statement sounding alarm on escalating mass domestic repression in Iran 

Inter-Parliamentary Group Chair Irwin Cotler says that Iran has “imprisoned and silenced all opposition”

Ottawa – The Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran – an international consortium of Parliamentarians dedicated to promoting and protecting Iranian human rights – today condemned the massive state-sanctioned assault on the human rights of the Iranian people. 

Professor Cotler added: “We are witness to state-sanctioned assaults that are tantamount to crimes against humanity, including the highest per capita rate of executions in the world; the imprisonment and silencing of more journalists and bloggers than any other country; the persistent and pervasive assault on women’s rights; the targeting of religious and ethnic minorities, particularly the Baha’i and the Kurds; the criminalization of fundamental freedoms of speech, association and assembly; and the imprisonment of opposition leaders, human rights defenders, and the lawyers who would defend them.”

U.K. MP and former Minister Denis MacShane said that, “The criminalization of any opposition or dissent makes a mockery of any notion of free and democratic elections.  In effect, this is an election in which the opposition speaks at its peril.”

The Inter-Parliamentary Group concluded: “Let it be known that we stand in solidarity with the targeted people and publics of Iran, that we salute their courage, that we support their struggle for democracy, freedom and human rights in the great tradition of the Persian civilization, and that we look forward to the day when free and fair elections will indeed be conducted in Iran.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran strongly condemns imminent execution of Saeed Malekpour


Ottawa – The Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran strongly condemns the decision of Iranian judicial authorities to execute Saeed Malekpour who was initially both falsely accused and then illegally convicted of trumped-up Internet-related charges.

The Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran said that “this is yet another example of the criminalization of innocence and the wanton executions that pass for “judicial decision-making in Iran” but which have resulted in Iran having the highest execution rate per capita in the world”.

The Inter-Parliamentary Group calls upon Iran to rescind the death sentence and immediately release Saeed Malekpour, the whole in accordance with what Iranian authorities would call a “rule of law” rather than a state of arbitrary executions.

Posted on December 6, 2011

Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran stands with Iran’s youth on Student Day

Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran stands with Iran’s youth on Student Day

Cotler (CA), Kirk (US), Lieberman (US), MacShane (UK), Danby (AU), Nirenstein (IT), Zingeris (LT) issue joint statement in solidarity with Iran’s students and demand the immediate release of all political prisoners in Iran

Ottawa – Canadian Member of Parliament (MP) Irwin Cotler, United States Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), British MP Denis MacShane, Australian MP Michael Danby, Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein, and Lithuanian MP Emanuelis Zingeris released the following joint statement to stand in solidarity with Iran’s youth on Student Day:

“We applaud the students of Iran who are courageously calling attention to the Iranian regime’s systematic campaign of violence, fear, and repression. We must support these human rights activists who oppose the radical agenda of the pro-regime Basij who attacked the British Embassy last week. The real students of Iran are banned from university for peaceful activism and for calling the regime out on its rampant human rights abuses. These brave students stand in stark contrast to the fake students linked to the Iranian authorities who stormed the British embassy in yet another vindictive attempt to isolate the Iranian people from the rest of the world. In Iran, those who dare to exercise the basic freedoms of religion, association, and expression that we take for granted are often jailed, tortured or killed.  Today we hope the students who dare to speak out for a free and democratic Iran will know that they have support around the world. 

We condemn the detention of university students Bahareh Hedayat, Majid Tavakoli, and Mahdieh Golroo, and the denial of education to thousands of Baha’i students. We call for the immediate release of the seven Baha’i educators: Mahmoud Badavam, Nooshin Khadem, Vahid Mahmoudi, Kamran Mortezaie, Farhad Sedghi, Riaz Sobhani, and Ramin Zibaie; the seven Baha’i leaders known as “the Yaran”: Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Mahvash Sabet, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm; and all Iranian political prisoners. Iran’s students represent the best hope for a free Iran. When that day comes, they will have true partners in us.”

Student Day in Iran is a day known for nationwide university protests. Since the regime’s violent crackdown on Student Day protests in 1999, it has become a day for Iranian university students to protest against the abuses of their government.