Canada Welcomes UN Resolution on Human Rights Situation in Iran

December 18, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Today, the Canada-led resolution on the situation of human rights in Iran was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

“Canada welcomes this clear demonstration of support for the people of Iran and their desire for meaningful human rights reforms.

“Through the adoption of this resolution, the international community has signalled the importance of improving human rights in the country and reinforced the expectations of Iranians looking to the new president to fulfill his commitments and address serious human rights violations.

“This resolution bolsters the tireless efforts of those inside Iran who continue to work toward ensuring that pervasive violations of human rights in Iran are effectively addressed. It reminds victims of human rights violations that they have not been forgotten by the international community.

“Real change in Iran requires that concrete actions—not merely token gestures—be made to protect human rights. As a vigorous defender of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law around the world, Canada will continue to hold Iran accountable and encourage it to uphold its obligations and to respect the fundamental rights of its people.”

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - UN 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 United Nations General Assembly, where Canada—for the 11th consecutive year—is once again the lead sponsor, in solidarity with a large cross-regional group of countries, of a resolution drawing attention to the human rights situation in Iran. This year’s resolution reflects the changing circumstances in Iran with the election of President Hassan Rouhani and welcomes positive gestures regarding the human rights situation in the country. It outlines ongoing and grave human rights violations and continues to encourage Iran to live up to its domestic and international human rights obligations.

This year’s resolution was co-sponsored by a record 47 countries. The Third Committee of the General Assembly approved the resolution on November 19, 2013, with 83 countries supporting the resolution and 36 countries voting against. It was subsequently adopted by the General Assembly plenary session on December 18, 2013, with 86 countries voting in support and 36 countries voting against.

Serious and systematic human rights abuses are ongoing in Iran. These include a deeply entrenched disregard for the rule of law and due process, as well as the targeting of journalists, labour rights activists, ethnic and religious minority communities and their defenders by state institutions. Women and girls face serious restrictions and inequality in law and in practice, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are persecuted. So far in 2013, Iran has executed over 500 people, often for non-violent crimes, including drug offences.

Through this resolution, the international community continues to encourage meaningful and lasting human rights reform in Iran. This includes calling for concrete action to address the most serious human rights violations in Iran, such as the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities and discrimination against women.