Canada Leads Charge on Iran’s Dismal Human Rights Record

(No. 384 - December 19, 2011 - 1:45 p.m. ET) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“We are proud that this Canadian-led resolution has garnered more support than ever before at the United Nations. This is a clear signal that the international community is growing more and more tired of Iran’s blatant disregard of human rights.

“Canada will not stay silent on these issues.

“We will continue to express serious concern about the ongoing and pervasive human rights violations in Iran, including the persecution of religious minorities.

“Canada is a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law around the world, and we will continue to urge Iran to uphold its international obligations, to allow for freedom of religion and to respect the fundamental rights of its people.”

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A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - United Nations Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran

Canada has consistently taken a prominent position on the global stage as a diligent, vocal promoter of human rights and as a strong defender of those whose human rights are under threat.

This has been particularly noticeable at the crucial forum of the United Nations General Assembly, where Canada has been a lead sponsor, in solidarity with many like-minded countries, of important resolutions against the ongoing abuse of human rights in Iran.

This year, Canada once again led—for the ninth consecutive year—in sponsoring a resolution in the General Assembly condemning human rights abuses in Iran. The resolution again condemned the use of cruel and inhuman punishments in Iran and deplored a dramatic increase in unwarranted executions.

This year’s resolution was co-sponsored by 42 countries. The Third Committee of the General Assembly approved this resolution on November 21, 2011, with 86 countries supporting the resolution and 32 countries voting against. It was subsequently adopted by the General Assembly plenary session on December 19, with 89 countries voting in support, and only 30 countries voting against.

Through these resolutions, Canada has consistently focused the world’s attention on the egregious and long-standing violations of human rights by Iranian authorities. These human rights violations run an appalling gamut—from the persistent discrimination against women and girls, and the violation of their fundamental rights, to arbitrary arrests and detentions; and from widespread discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities to media censorship and harassment of human rights defenders, including women’s rights activists.

These Canadian-led UN resolutions have also expressed deep concern with Iran’s lack of compliance with international human rights mechanisms. This year’s resolution also welcomed the appointment of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran and called on the Iranian government to fully cooperate with him, including by allowing him to visit the country.