Canada Welcomes UN Resolution on Iranian Human Rights Situation

(No. 352 - November 20, 2009 - 12:30 p.m. EST) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement welcoming the adoption of a resolution on the human rights situation in Iran, following a vote earlier today at the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly:

“The adoption of this resolution is another clear signal of the international community’s concern for the human rights of people in Iran. It sends a message of hope to the victims of violations, and to the human rights defenders who seek to effect positive change in Iran. The resolution calls on Iran to address the egregious abuses against its own citizens. The international community has spoken, and human rights obligations must be respected in law and in practice.

“With this resolution, and those presented in previous years, international attention has been drawn to the unacceptable human rights situation in Iran, and the Government of Iran has been forced to account for its actions. We continue to invite the Iranian government to take meaningful steps to respect the human rights of all people in Iran.”

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A backgrounder follows.

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Natalie Sarafian
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Backgrounder - Canada, the UN, and Iranian Human Rights

This is the seventh consecutive year in which Canada has served as the lead co‑sponsor for a resolution on this subject. The resolution expresses serious concern about the human rights situation in Iran, especially, this year, following the contested June 12 presidential election. It highlights unacceptable human rights violations committed by the Government of Iran following the election, such as arbitrary arrests, detentions and killings, restrictions on freedom of expression, and torture and harsh interrogation.

These abuses were in addition to long‑standing and continued violations of human rights by the Iranian government, such as execution of juveniles, stoning and amputation, widespread discrimination against cultural, religious and linguistic minorities, media censorship, and harassment of human rights defenders and women’s rights activists.

The resolution also expresses deep concern regarding Iran’s lack of compliance with international human rights mechanisms, and invites UN special procedures mandate holders to pay particular attention to the state of human rights in Iran.

The resolution was co‑sponsored by 41 other UN member states, and was supported by 74 member states in the vote earlier today.