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SDIR Committee News Release

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Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
House of Commons / Chambre des communes
Sous-comité des droits internationaux de la personne du Comité permanent des affaires étrangères et du développement international

For immediate release



Ottawa, May 20, 2016 -

The Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development held its fourth annual Iran Accountability Week as part of its ongoing monitoring of the Iranian regime’s human rights record. After hearing compelling testimony on the Iranian government’s persistent and widespread repression of its own people, the Subcommittee issued the following statement:

The Subcommittee condemns the Iranian regime’s systematic repression of dissenting voices, including the monitoring, harassment, arrest and torture of those who may challenge the status quo in Iran, among them journalists and human rights advocates. The Subcommittee condemns the Iranian government’s use of its legal system and security forces to intimidate its people, including by escalating its use of public executions. The Subcommittee denounces state-sanctioned discrimination against women, girls, and sexual minorities. The Subcommittee condemns the legal and practical discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities in Iran, as well as its incitement of anti-Semitism. The Subcommittee condemns in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s continued incitement of violence against the Baha’i community.

The Subcommittee urges the Government of Canada to apply pressure on the Iranian government, at every opportunity, to halt human rights violations, and to maintain targeted sanctions against Iranian individuals and groups that violate human rights. The Government of Canada should continue to shed light on human rights abuses committed by the Iranian regime through annual resolutions at the United Nations, which were first initiated by Canada in 2003. The Subcommittee also urges the Government of Canada to publicly lend its support to human rights advocates as well as political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Iran, in particular by calling for the immediate release of the seven Baha’i leaders imprisoned for their faith.

The Subcommittee expresses its solidarity with the people of Iran, and in particular Iranian human rights defenders who work tirelessly in Iran and abroad, and at a great personal cost, for the promotion, protection and respect for human rights in their country. The Subcommittee encourages Canadians to engage with Iran’s vibrant civil society through people-to-people diplomacy.


"We remind the Iranian regime of its obligations to uphold and protect universal human rights, including the protection of freedoms of conscience and expression, and the rights of women, children and sexual minorities. We stand in support of the Iranian people in their pursuit of democracy and the rule of law. Canada’s targeted sanctions against Iran and sponsorship of annual resolutions at the United Nations make clear that any renewed engagement with Iran must support efforts to advance human rights. As a Subcommittee, we remain committed to the ongoing study of these violations until the Iranian regime respects human rights."‎

Michael Levitt, MP

Chair of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights

“My caucus colleagues and I remain gravely concerned that human rights violations in Iran continue unabated. We call on the Iranian regime to release prisoners of conscience now – particularly the seven imprisoned leaders of the Baha’i community. This is a most urgent first step, however, we will also be watching closely to see that freedom of expression, womens’ rights and other basic human rights in Iran are addressed before we can be confident in any signal of progress.”

David Sweet, MP

Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee of International Human Rights

“President Hassan Rouhani, your recent global charm offensive means nothing unless it is backed by substantive reforms. Cosmetic changes will not do. These reforms should be a genuine extension of freedoms across the board—freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom to join an independent union and to bargain collectively.

This is also an excellent time in which to halt all arrests of journalists and human rights defenders. It is a time to cease all acts of torture. It is a time to release all prisoners of conscience, starting with, as a show of good will, the Bahá'í 7.

President Rouhani, the world watches. The world waits.”

Cheryl Hardcastle, MP

Vice Chair of the Subcommittee for International Human Rights

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For more information, please contact:
Angela Crandall, Clerk of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Tel: 613-996-1540