Canada Shares UN Human Rights Report’s Concerns About Iran

October 23, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement after the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, released a report noting substantial human rights concerns in the country:

“Since President Hassan Rouhani was elected in June, Iranians and the international community have been expecting the President to deliver on the many pledges made to voters.

“However, since that time, there have been at least 125 executions and an unknown but substantial number of Iranian prisoners have been sentenced to death and are facing imminent execution.

“Iran has sought to portray itself as having embarked on a new era of openness, such as by releasing a number of prominent prisoners of conscience on the eve of the UN General Assembly meeting. While we are relieved that these prisoners have been released, this report makes it absolutely clear that real reforms will require substantial efforts by the Ayatollah Khamenei’s Islamic Republic of Iran to address the brutal human rights violations that persist.

“Canada very much hopes to see the Islamic Republic of Iran engage actively and meaningfully with the Special Rapporteur on these issues of profound importance for the people of Iran, an engagement essential in any hope for freedom and prosperity for a people who have been denied both for too long.”

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Human Rights Violations in Iran

Iran’s execution rate is among the highest of any country in the world, with Amnesty International reporting that at least 508 people have been executed so far in 2013. Drug-related offences constitute the majority of executions, with an estimated 4,000 Afghan nationals in Iran currently on death row for drug-related crimes.

Transparency and due process remain elusive as Iranian authorities continue to flout their own domestic laws with impunity. Floggings, limb amputations, crucifixion and the possible execution of juveniles remain enshrined in law while the new penal code retains stoning as a possible means of execution.

Those who speak out about these issues also continue to be dealt with harshly. It is estimated that at least 500 human rights defenders currently remain behind bars. Censorship continues and freedom of association remains restricted. Journalists, bloggers and online activists are frequently intimidated, harassed and detained.