The prevention of an Iranian “nuclear breakout” capability is inextricably intertwined with the regime’s ongoing massive repression of human rights, says a leading expert. Indeed, negotiations proceed while rights violations continue unabated – and have even intensified – under the “moderate” President Rouhani, notes Irwin Cotler, a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Professor of Law Emeritus at McGill University.
First, the prospect of a rights-violating regime seeking to possess nuclear weapons itself warrants concern. Second, the reality of Iran’s repressive treatment of its citizens – and blatant breaches of its international law obligations in this regard – should cause us to question the veracity of any commitments made by the regime in the context of the nuclear negotiations, he writes for The Huffington Post.
Extremist religiosity and despotic politics create a lethal cocktail, analyst Raymond Tanter recently wrote for Foreign Policy:
Historian Reza Afshari, in his Human Rights in Iran details the game plan for how Iran denies human rights on religious grounds. While other Muslim-majority entities grant some rights, al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and Iran are primetime deniers of such rights [he writes, citing evidence from Human Rights Watch (HRW), which conducted an analysis of photographs and satellite imagery’’ and a report of the Iran Human Rights Documents Center [showing] that Iran conducts massive numbers of executions via public hangings by trucks….
Illustrative of the lack of human rights in Iran is Section 186 of Tehran’s Islamic Criminal Code. The code criminalizes membership in and/or support for any group’s members considered as “enemies of God” (Mohareb). …
Facing retirement, Cotler (right) is “most proud of what modest involvement I had in the struggles against apartheid and for Soviet Jewry, and representing the political prisoners involved in those struggles,” he told the Globe and Mail, adding a comment about his future plans.
“I’ve always had a dream to establish a Raoul Wallenberg centre for international justice, named after Canada’s first honorary citizen, which would be a unique international consortium of parliamentarians, scholars, jurists, human rights defenders, NGOs and students united in the pursuit of justice, and anchored in and inspired by Wallenberg’s humanitarian legacy,” he said.
‘Huge sense of fairness’
On Thursday, Cotler will receive the Law Society of Upper Canada’s inaugural human rights award at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. The society represents some 46,000 lawyers in Ontario, Laura Stone reports for Global News:
Cotler, a former law professor at McGill University in Montreal, was first elected to Parliament in 1999, and served as justice minister under former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin from 2003 to 2006.
“His legislation was the first to criminalize trafficking in persons, which is just one of the worst things that has ever afflicted humankind,” said Martin. “He brought in the first ever prosecution under the Canadian War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Act, in terms of the genocide in Rwanda.”
He was at the forefront, you know, of the international struggle against apartheid. And that’s one of the reasons, I think, when I was in Africa and people would come up to me and say, ‘Do you know Irwin Cotler?’ It was the battle against apartheid.
He really has spoken for justice on all of the issues in the Middle East. He lectured in Arab countries and Israel for long before he ever went into public life. I think that in terms of human rights, Irwin Cotler, more than anybody I know – his name is associated with the rights protecting us all. RTWT
1. A DRAMATIC INCREASE IN WANTON EXECUTIONS: Iran not only executes more people per-capita than any other state but the execution rate has actually escalated under President Rouhani, …
2. CULTURE OF IMPUNITY: 2015 marks the 27th year since the Iranian regime’s 1988 Prison Massacre, where then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the executions of thousands of dissidents, purging opposition to the regime. …Indeed, Rouhani himself continues to indulge a culture of impunity, rewarding and promoting the perpetrators of grave abuses. ….
3. TORTURE: Under Rouhani’s presidency, authorities have continued to use torture to intimidate detainees and coerce confessions to justify trumped-up charges, ….
4. POLITICAL PRISONERS: Iran continues to imprison human rights defenders, students, journalists, bloggers, lawyers, artists, trade unionists, members of the political opposition, and civil society leaders generally. ….
5. PERSECUTION OF BAHA’I: International observers have repeatedly recognized the systematic and widespread persecution of Iran’s Baha’i religious minority, who are singled out for particularly cruel and unusual treatment by the regime. ….
6. PERSECUTION OF OTHER RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC MINORITIES: The Iranian regime continues to target and incite hatred and violence against religious and ethnic minorities, violating their civil, political, social, religious, economic, cultural, linguistic, and educational rights. …”.
7. PERSECUTION OF WOMEN: Despite Article 20 of the Iranian constitution purporting to protect gender equality, Iranian women face widespread and systematic discrimination in many areas of life. …..
8. PERSECUTION OF LESBIAN AND GAY PEOPLE: Iranian law criminalizes same-sex relations and allows the courts wide discretion in determining sentences, which can include corporal and capital punishment. …
9. THE PERSECUTION OF JOURNALISTS AND THE ASSAULT ON FREE SPEECH: While the Iranian regime continues to espouse principles of free speech and free press, any rhetorical commitment is mocked by reality. …
10. ASSAULT ON THE RULE OF LAW AND THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY: The Iranian legal system is characterized more by the assault on the rule of law — or law by theocratic rule — while lacking any semblance of independence for the judiciary and the legal profession. …
11. IRAN AND THE UN UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW: The UN Human Rights Council recently concluded its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iran, which … demonstrated that the Iranian government has continued its massive violations of human rights in breach of its own undertakings….
12. INCITEMENT TO HATE AND GENOCIDE: The Iranian regime continues to engage in the persistent and pervasive incitement to hate and even genocide. Throughout the years, high-ranking government officials and religious leaders have called for the destruction of Israel, with the 21st-century beginning with Supreme Leader Khamenei calling for “the annihilation of the Jewish State”…