Human Rights Should be Issue Number One in Negotiations
(12 September 2009) The “P5+1” nations should put the need to respect human rights at the top of their list of issues to discuss with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
Iran’s “package of proposals” has suggested that areas for negotiation include “Protecting human dignity, respect for their culture and rights.” The general theme of the proposal was a broad and general range of issues including “security,” “stability,” and “peace,” and the proposal noted the need for the international community to proceed on the basis of a “solid foundation of justice and law.”
“In the past three months, Iran has egregiously trampled upon the rights of its people, shooting and bludgeoning to death numerous peaceful protesters, imprisoning hundreds of people on the basis of their political views, and torturing and even raping detainees before putting them on show trials. Human rights need to be on the top of the agenda,” said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign.
“These negotiations should not be interpreted as a stamp of approval of Iran’s grave human rights record,” he added.
The Campaign noted that among the issues highlighted in Iran’s proposal was “the right of people to have free elections.”
While official results from the 12 June presidential elections are considered to lack credibility, which inspired massive protests that have been violently put down, Iran’s election rules preclude a free selection of candidates and need to be reformed to meet international standards.
The Campaign emphasizes that any meaningful discussions should focus on human dignity and rights and holding the Iranian government accountable.
The Campaign said that if Iran is serious about protecting human rights and dignity it can start by removing obstacles to independent human rights groups, releasing all prisoners of conscience, and cooperating with United Nations special rapporteurs who are ready to help with constructive advice. The Campaign believes that any negotiations that do not prioritize human rights concerns will lack credibility with the Iranian people and will not bring any stability or peace to Iran or the region.