December 28, 2009

Senate, UN Resolutions Condemn Rights Abuses in Iran

Washington, DC – Last Tuesday, the United States Senate passed a resolution, “Condemning the Government of Iran for restricting and suppressing freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly, and for its human rights abuses, and for other purposes.”  The bipartisan resolution, S. Res. 386, was sponsored by Senators Kaufman (D-DE), Lieberman (I-CT), McCain (R-AZ), Dodd (D-CT), Kyl (R-AZ), Casey (D-PA), Graham (R-SC), Levin (D-MI), and Brownback (R-KS), and passed by unanimous consent.

The resolution condemned the various human rights abuses committed by the Iranian Government, and also praised the State Department’s recent decision to allow the provision of free mass market software for use by the Iranian people to communicate and share information online.

It also urged the implementation of the Victims of Iranian Censorship Act (VOICE Act), which President Obama signed into law on October 28th and which encourages the development of technologies that help the Iranian people gain access to accurate and independent information, as well as freely express their viewpoints.

In support of this resolution, Senator Kaufman said “As Iranians continue to peacefully demonstrate in the streets, they have a right to have their voices and aspirations heard. Fundamental freedoms and human rights must be respected in Iran and throughout the world, and we condemn any attempt to silence the Iranian people.”

Senator Dodd joined him on the Senate floor, saying “With this resolution – and recently-enacted laws designed to pressure Iran to respect the rights of its citizens and to hold accountable those who would deny them – Congress stands firmly behind the people of Iran and their right to express their views and exercise their freedoms without retribution by their government.”

The resolution also lauded the recent United Nations General Assembly resolution that passed last Friday calling for Iran to uphold its international obligations to human rights as well as its own constitutional laws that forbid the government from violating the rights of its citizens.

The U.N. resolution called for the release of political prisoners – especially those detained as a result of participation in post-election protests – and for, “Iran to cooperate fully with and admit entry to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance.”




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