Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Human Wrongs

On June 30th Iranian Labour News Agency reported that Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of Human Rights Committee of Iran, had a meeting with the German Green Party parliamentary representative and the the group accompanying him. In this meeting while both parties emphasized the importance of developing and improving the relationship between Iran and Germany, the head of Human Right Committee of Iran and the Judiciary Consultant on International Matters stated that the west criticizes Iran on two accounts. The first criticism concerns the proper implementation of law in Iran and "The second criticism is about our laws, such as death penalty, stoning, and so forth. We have to say that the criticisms of the western countries are beyond the Islamic Republic of Iran's commitments since our international commitments do not include any of these cases."

Global community is outraged that Iran continues to pass death sentences on minors and juvenile offenders (those convicted of crimes committed before the age of 18), and that it is still passing sentences of stoning to death, despite having announced a moratorium on such executions. Iran imposed a moratorium upon stoning in December 2002 under a directive from the Head of the Judiciary, and while the global community has been waiting for a response from Iranian authorities concerning stoning in Iranian laws, now, all of a sudden, the authorities in Iran clearly state that Iranian governments international commitments does not include stoning, death penalty, and other human rights violations.

Although the ultimate goal of human rights defenders is to abolish death penalty as an inhumane punishment and a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ICCPR to which Iran is a signatory, however, stopping execution by stoning is of immediate concern, when we consider the fact that this method of execution is specifically designed to cause the victim grievous pain before death and which is the most extreme and cruel form of torture.

The human rights defenders must hold the governments accountable for their commitments to human rights as a fundamental tenet of foreign policy. The stated position of Iran is two steps back as far as protection of human rights in Iran is concerned.

-Elahe Amani

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