Skip to comments.Iran calls Canada rights abuser
Posted on 11/04/2005 4:22:12 PM PST by F14 Pilot
UNITED NATIONS - Iran has launched an attack on Canada at the United Nations, claiming Ottawa is in no position to censure the Islamic republic over its human rights record.
Canada is due to propose a motion at the General Assembly next week that calls on members to pass a resolution demanding Iran enact reforms, including bans on torture and execution by stoning.
Now Iranian officials have combed through the results of numerous human rights inquiries in Canada to come up with evidence of human rights abuses across the country.
Canada had a response ready to read into the international record, but the UN session hearing the matter ran out of time.
In Ottawa yesterday, Pierre Pettigrew, the Foreign Affairs Minister, dismissed Iran's bid to claim any moral equivalency. "Iran's response clearly shows that it is feeling the pressure of Canada's leadership at the UN in focusing attention on Iran's dismal human rights record," he said.
"By any reasonable set of indicators, Canada takes its human rights obligations seriously. In Canada, human rights issues are debated openly. No one in Canada is sent to jail for expressing an opinion."
Iran has adopted an increasingly hard line against the West since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guardsman, was elected President. Last week, he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
Tensions between Canada and Iran increased dramatically after Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-born photographer with Canadian citizenship, died in Iranian custody in 2003.
It's not the first time Iranian officials have hit out at Canada.
In the past two years, the Iranians have contented themselves with pointing out Canada's imperfections.
But this year, the Iranian riposte is presented as a case against Canada, citing findings of UN inquiries, reports of non-governmental organizations and official Canadian studies.
"Some may think that Canada may have reached a level of human rights record that allows it to point its finger at others in order to criticize their human rights records," Mostafa Alaei, director of the department of human rights at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, told a General Assembly committee on Wednesday.
"We took a cursory look at the UN documents, and the reports of NGOs such as Amnesty International, to verify this perception," he said. "Astonishingly, we found otherwise. We have obtained piles of credible and reliable information suggesting that the violation of human rights in Canada ... are at some stages, alarming."
Mr. Alaei said lack of time prevented him from presenting everything his staff had collected.
Quoting from a UN report on indigenous people in Canada, he read passages that hinted at or documented the slow pace of land settlements, police brutality, the disappearance or murder of indigenous women and the dire economic situation of native people.
He said a UN committee on torture had been concerned about police using pepper spray, while a UN human rights committee had highlighted the detention of people not formally charged. Similarly, a UN study of "arbitrary detention" had raised concerns about the number of people in jail awaiting trial.
"We leave the final judgment and analysis with you, and the distinguished delegates, to determine whether Canada is in a position to submit [a] human rights resolution against others," Mr. Alaei said.
Canadian officials point out UN and other inquiries sometimes appear more critical of democratic societies than closed ones because information is more freely available.
Although Mr. Alaei mentioned Amnesty International in support of his criticism of Canada, the human rights organization says it does not grade countries and Iran has stepped over a line by focusing on Canada.
"The idea of a government using the fact other governments are criticized for their human rights record as an excuse to ... continue to violate the rights of their own citizens is absolutely unacceptable," said John Tackaberry, spokesman for Amnesty International Canada.
"There are human rights violations in Canada that have caused Amnesty International concern, but there aren't systematic violations."
Mr. Alaei spoke after Gilbert Laurin, Canada's deputy ambassador to the UN, addressed the same committee on Canada's assessment of world respect for human rights.
"In Iran ... we have seen no credible evidence of any improvement of the overall human rights situation and the protection of political and democratic freedoms," Mr. Laurin said.
"In fact we note ... that repression of political dissent has increased and that executions in the absence of internationally recognized safeguards, including executions of children, are ongoing."
Well, they have a point. Publicly read verses from the Bible and you go to jail... You've got to love those tolerant Canadians!
The Canadians have rather weak civil rights, actually.
Man, that nut-job president there in Iran is one p!ssed-off Persian! It seems that he is just spoiling for a fight. I think he's going to get one and he's not going to like it when he does.
Iran has played the U.N. almost as well as Iraq did when Saddam was still in power.
They have gone too far. It's the end of the road for the irano-islamics.
Sounds like you have something in common with your Iranian friends, eh?
Unless that opinion differs from your leftist viewpiont, eh Canada? Can Canadians denounce homosexuality without fear of recrimination Pierre?
Open debate is Canadian fiction.
Looks like Iran has knocked the US out of first place for most hated country status.
Canada is not lily white. They had better cast a wary eye across the sea to what is happening in France.
That should be entertaining.
Ironically, Canadian malcontents have probably provided the Iranians with just what they need. Imagine making bullets for a regime such as Iran to fire back at you.
Original author: Norma Greenaway
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
URL: http://tinyurl.com/cdll6 (subscribers only)
Date: November 04, 2005
A UN panel has rapped Canada for its use of security certificates to indefinitely detain non-Canadians on national security grounds in a blunt, albeit diplomatically worded report that also criticizes its treatment of aboriginals and women.
Canadian human rights groups cheered the report by the UN Committee on Human Rights as welcome ammunition in the campaign to get the attention of federal and provincial governments over gaps in their performance on human rights.