It is a compelling scene – thousands in the streets of Iran – calling for freedom – fighting for free and fair elections. And, Barry, what is most troubling – but not necessarily surprising – is the Iranian regime’s reaction – the use of deadly violence to quell the protests and a flagrant disregard for international law and basic human rights.
President Obama condemned the violence in a news conference today and used his strongest language yet, saying the world is “appalled and outraged” by Iran’s actions.
And, the House and Senate passed separate resolutions in support of the Iranian protesters.
Since the election last week, nearly 20 Iranians have been killed – including the murder of a young Iranian girl whose killing was captured on video and posted online.
The Iranian regime is on a very disturbing path. It’s time for the global community – including the United Nations – to turn up the heat on Iran.
Iran has clearly violated the internationally recognized standards for human rights set forth by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran unequivocally and voluntarily ratified. Iran has also violated numerous provisions of its own constitution that protect human rights and prohibit arbitrary arrests.
Our international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice, has sent a letter to the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland urging the body “to take all actions within your authority to pressure Iran to comply with international human rights law.”
Iran is guilty of numerous violations of international law – including Article 19 of the UDHR: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
In addition, Iran’s attempt to hide its abuse of human rights from the international community by blocking journalistic activity and prohibiting foreign press from observing and reporting on events within the country violates international law. Article 17 of the ICCPR and Article 12 of the UDHR outlaw arbitrary interference with correspondence of individuals. With no regard for these provisions, Iran has blocked satellite transmissions, internet access, telephone communications, and other forms of communicating and reporting.
Yes, the flow of information out of Iran is difficult now. But, the truth will continue to get out – thanks, in part, to the web-based social media.
It’s time for Iran to be held accountable. The world is watching.
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