September 12, 2009

What’s going on at the UN?

NIAC recently obtained an advance copy of an upcoming speech by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighting human rights concerns around the world. Understanding that her past statements on Iran have been inadequate, we were very concerned to see what she was planning to say:

The recent elections in Iran and the subsequent protests over the result were a reminder of both the vitality of Iran’s civil society and political life, but also of the towering constraints that peaceful activism faces. I call on the government to release those detained for peaceful protest, to investigate reports of their ill-treatment, and to ensure respect for human rights.

That’s it. Two sentences in a nine page speech.
Our President, Dr. Trita Parsi, corresponded with the L.A. Times’ Borzou Daragahi about the issue, pointing out how there is “no mention of government-sponsored violence, repression, show trials, [or] who is responsible for those ‘towering constraints.'”
Furthermore, he said, “When [the High Commissioner for Human Rights] discusses oppression in other countries, she mentions the names of specific victims, yet she doesn’t mention the names of any Iranians. The entire world knows the name of Neda Agha Soltan, but she and the many human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists in jail and on trial go unnamed.”
The people of Iran who have demonstrated at great risk for their rights have made one simple demand over and over: bear witness to our struggle. Their bravery must not be ignored.
As Dr. Parsi told the L.A. Times:

“In an isolated country like Iran, where there are limited human rights protections and no human rights mechanisms or human rights [organization] networks at the national or regional level to address or bring attention to the plight of victims, the U.N. high commissioner’s role in spotlighting abuses becomes even more critical,” he said.

“She has failed to recognize this need,” he added.

We can only hope that by pointing out the inadequacy of her words, the High Commissioner for Human Rights will realize that she needs to take a stronger stand on the human rights abuses occurring in Iran. The world is watching.

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