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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


Current Human Rights Situation in Iran

Ottawa, June 29, 2022 -

On 21 June 2022, the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (the Subcommittee) held a meeting on the human rights situation in Iran.

Witnesses, including human rights defenders, former prisoners in Iran and academics told the subcommittee that human rights violations in Iran are so significant and widespread that they affect virtually every aspect of life in the country.

Iran is governed by an authoritarian regime intent on maintaining power through broad campaigns of repression and systematic human rights violations. State authorities largely decide electoral outcomes and control the flow of information. Security forces are used to silence critics, employing tactics that include imprisonment, violence and executions. The Iranian regime also engages in hostage diplomacy, censorship and pressures and threatens dissidents both domestically and abroad. While human rights defenders and political dissenters are frequently targeted, many others from marginalized and vulnerable groups, such as women, LGBTQ persons, persons with disabilities and ethnic and religious minorities are also subjected to various forms of discrimination and violence.

Moreover, the separation of powers in Iran is largely superficial. There are effectively no checks on the powers of the state. Mechanisms to prevent, correct or remedy human rights violations in the country are largely non-existent. As such, those whose human rights are being violated have no recourse to an independent and impartial judiciary and may face repercussions for demanding justice.

Witnesses informed the Subcommittee that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is integrated into every aspect of the Iranian regime. The Subcommittee was told that Iranian authorities have harassed, detained, abused, interrogated and even tortured individuals seeking justice for those onboard Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752, which was shot down by the IRGC shortly after takeoff from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport on 8 January 2020. Witnesses highlighted the IRGC’s role in terrorist activities and its role in funding, training and providing other material support to organizations in the region designated by the Government of Canada as terrorist entities, such as Hezbollah. Several witnesses called on the Government of Canada to follow through on the motion passed in the House of Commons on 12 June 2018 to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity.

Many Iranians have been taking part in mass protests throughout the country to demand fairer wages and better working conditions, to which the government has responded with violence and imprisonment. While the Iranian regime blames international sanctions for the country’s economic woes, witnesses expressed support for them to be continued and broadened.

The Subcommittee also heard that the Iranian regime has been arresting dual nationals and foreigners based on trumped up national security charges. The Subcommittee, for example, recently released a statement calling attention to the case of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, a Swedish-Iranian medical doctor and academic, who was arbitrarily detained in 2016 while in Iran at the invitation of the universities of Tehran and Shiraz and slated to be executed on 21 May 2022. He was granted a temporary stay of execution and the Subcommittee reiterates its call to the Government of Canada to work with international partners and take meaningful action to secure his release.

The Subcommittee condemns the Iranian regime’s human rights record and calls on Iran to immediately release prisoners of conscience, dual nationals and foreigners.

The Subcommittee extends its support to the people of Iran, and particularly to the tireless human rights defenders working in Iran and abroad to improve respect for human rights.

The Subcommittee calls on the Government of Canada to continue to apply sustained diplomatic pressure on Iran to abide by its domestic and international human rights obligations.

The Subcommittee joins with witnesses who called for the Government of Canada to impose targeted sanctions, including Magnitsky sanctions, on individuals responsible for gross violations of human rights in Iran and to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity..

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