World Must Sustain Push against Iran's Human Rights Abuses
As the United States and the international community meet Iran's diplomats and hope for the nuclear crisis to be resolved, another critical front should be opened: an investigation into the Iranian regime for abuse of human rights of its own people.
I don't understand how democracies stood by idly since last June as the Basij militia beat, tortured, and assassinated protesters. The U.S. administration claimed that its silence was meant to avoid being perceived as "meddling" in Iran's internal affairs. But didn't America and its allies "meddle" deeply in Yugoslavia, South Africa, and Haiti's "internal affairs" when human rights were aggressed?
It seems that not siding with civil society in Iran as it is brutally oppressed by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei regime is more about a commitment to cutting a deal with the Pasdaran within what has been announced an "engagement" doctrine by the administration. We'll revisit this labyrinth.
Luckily, many legislators in the free world do not agree on deal-cutting with oppressive regimes. On Sept. 22, members of Congress, the European Parliament, and the Canadian Parliament signed a historic document condemning Iran's continued human rights abuses.
Jaime Mayor Oreja, who is vice president for majority party at the European Parliament, said "it is the first time that legislators from both sides of the Atlantic are coming together to address the threats of jihadi terror. We are pleased to have accomplished this first step and other important steps will follow."
Canadian MP Irwin Cotler, a former minister of justice, also joined the delegations and signed the declaration.
The letter will be co-signed by a wider range of lawmakers from the three legislatures in Europe, Canada and the United States, from members of parties on the conservative, liberal and progressive sides of the chambers.
The declaration calls on:
- The government of Iran to put an immediate end to the abuses of its citizens' human rights.
- The U.N. secretary-general to dispatch a team of investigators to Iran to inquire about the human rights abuses and report their findings to the international community. We urge this team to visit political detainees in prisons and meet with the leaders of the opposition and the demonstrators to present a full picture of abuse.
- The United States, European Union, Canada, and the United Nations, to investigate the so-called "Basij militia" for alleged abuse of human rights.
- The United Nations Human Rights Council to freeze the membership of Iran until a full investigation by the council and the U.N. secretary-general on the mass scale abuse of human rights in Iran is completed; including the identification of those inside the Iranian regime responsible for issuing the orders to commit the atrocities. Iran should not be allowed to remain on the Human Rights Council when it does not defend human rights within its own border.
Dr. Walid Phares is the author of the "War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy" and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.