Did EU President Just Legitimize Iran’s Dismal Human Rights?

The UN, NGO’s all over the world and many Western governments are trying to pressure Tehran to improve the state of human rights in Iran.

Tehran’s response to these pressures? Repeated denials, vilifications and dismissals. As far as Tehran is concerned, there are no human rights problems in Iran and any criticism against Iran on this issue is “baseless” and “political”. In fact, according to Iran’s Human Rights chief and Iran’s Judicial Chief (the “Brothers in Lies“, Javad and Sadeq Larijani respectively), Iran is a leader in human rights. According to Khamenei himself, it is the US, not Iran, who has a problem of human rights: He took part himself in the #BlackLivesMatter campaign and a conference on human rights for African Americans was hosted two weeks ago in Tehran.

On November 8th, the Iranian “we don’t have a human rights problem” claim got a serious boost by none other than the EU President himself, Martin Schultz. During his trip in Tehran he met up with many Iranian leaders including the Javad Larijani himself. Instead of pressuring Larijani on improving human rights he, according to Mehr News Agency, went on record criticizing the West saying that the Western approach to human rights was “fascistic” since it considered itself the “touchstone to be followed by the world”.

If this report is incorrect, we would expect a clear denial from Schultz. If it is true, such a statement has dangerous overtones since it destroys any hope of universal human rights or even any universal understanding on any other topic. What stops a country deciding that all women should be banned from sports? Or that prisoners can be raped? Or that juvenile offenders can be executed? Or that political opposition can be house arrested for unending periods of time? (All this goes on in Iran). Moreover, in one statement, he dismissed the hard work and continued efforts by the UN’s Special Rapporteur, Ahmed Shaheed, who files scathing reports on Iran’s human rights.

But what makes matters worse is the fact that Schultz’s statement is in direct contradiction to an EU resolution from March 31st 2014 on the issue of the EU’s strategy towards Iran. Here are the relevant points (with added underlines):

  1. (The EU) Takes the view that the (Iran’s) Charter of Citizens’ Rights should comply fully with Iran’s international obligations, particularly as regards non-discrimination and the right to life, strengthening the prohibition of torture, ensuring full freedom of religion and belief, and guaranteeing freedom of expression, which is currently restricted by the vaguely formulated provision on the ‘national-security-related offence’;
  2. (The EU) Calls, therefore, for the EU to mainstream human rights in all aspects of its relations with Iran; believes that a high-level and inclusive human rights dialogue with Iran should be part of the future policy framework for bilateral EU–Iran relations; calls for the EU to start a human rights dialogue with Iran that includes the judiciary and security forces and establishes clearly defined benchmarks against which progress can be measured; calls for the EU to support fully the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and calls on Iran to grant him an immediate and unconditional entry visa; encourages UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay to take up the Iranian authorities’ invitation to visit Iran; calls on Iran to declare a moratorium on the death penalty;
  3. (The EU) Underlines the fact that any future Parliament delegations to Iran should be committed to meeting members of the political opposition and civil society activists, and to having access to political prisoners;

Not only did Mr. Schultz not pressure Tehran on human rights, he legitimized a back door from which Tehran could escape its responsibility. His actions follow an earlier petition by 220 EU MP’s to pressure Iran in improving human rights which was, as usual, sidelined by Tehran.

The problems of human rights in Tehran are well documented and many articles have been posted in the past on this blog. Just google “human rights Iran” to get an idea of the problems regarding the discrimination of women, journalists, activists, poets, religious minorities, children, gays, dissidents etc…Or perhaps just understand that criticizing the regime is a “sin” which can be punished by jail, flogging and/or death.

Whether or not the world has a right to intervene in the state of human rights in any country is a legitimate question, but the fact that the President of the EU deems these as “fascistic” is a breach of the EU standpoint, and a travesty which must be rectified. Is this HR expectation “fascistic” only in the context of Iran, where there are financial gains and political interests?

Please share your feelings with Mr. Schultz through his e-mail martin.schulz@europarl.europa.eu, his facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/martinschulz.eu/, https://www.facebook.com/PresidentEP/ or his twitter account https://twitter.com/MartinSchulz.

 

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