Activists Spotlight Rights Abuses on Eve of U.N. Meet
By Omid Memarian
(My story about the human rights activists' press conference a day before President Ahmadinejad's talk at the United Nations, New York)
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 22 (IPS) - A day before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses world leaders at the United Nations, human rights activists criticised his government's record and urged the international community to hold the president accountable during his visit to New York.
At a press conference Monday held by Human Rights Watch and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, activists stressed that basic human rights protections in Iran have deteriorated to new lows.
"The most urgent in relation to human rights in Iran is repression of civil society across the board, journalists, academics and human rights defenders who have gone to prison during President Ahmadinejad's tenure... [it] is a reminder to the world that there is a human rights crisis in Iran that is not diminishing -- it is actually escalating," Minky Worden, media director at Human Rights Watch, told IPS.
"It's very important for journalists and U.N. representative and other leaders to remind him that Iran is very much outside human rights norms and that all of these documents and treaties in relate to human rights that Ahmadinejad's government is signed on to they are not honouring those treaties," said Worden, adding that, "It's time for Iran to rejoin the international human rights norm."
A new briefing paper by the two groups, "Iran Rights Crisis Escalates: Faces and Cases from Ahmadinejad's Crackdown," documents the dire situation for human rights defenders and key dimensions of the human rights crisis in Iran today. Released ahead of Ahmadinejad's arrival at the opening ceremonies of the U.N. General Assembly, it highlights Iran's status as the world leader in juvenile executions.
Iran has executed six juvenile offenders so far in 2008, and more than 130 other juvenile offenders have been sentenced to death and are awaiting execution, according to human rights organisations.. (Continue...)
(Photo: From right to left: Minky Worden, Akbar Ganji, Hadi Ghaemi and Mehrangiz Kar / Credit:Omid Memarian/IPS)