Belgian MP: Europe cannot close eyes to human rights violations in Iran

Belgian MP: Europe cannot close eyes to human rights violations in Iran

Published by on October 20, 2017

In a meeting at the Belgian Federal Parliament to discuss the situation of human rights in Iran, several senators and members of the Belgian parliament from different political parties spoke.

The meeting was chaired by Ms Els Van Hoof, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Belgian Parliament from the Christian Democratic Party. In her remarks to the conference held on 17 October 2017, she said:

“The issue of death penalty in Iran is very concerning for us. Iran today is the number one state executioner in the world per capita.

“Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has publicly defended the executions. During his presidency several thousand people were hanged in Iran. He has also praised the Islamic Revolutionary Guards or the IRGC which is the main tool of repression inside Iran. IRGC has now been put in the black list of the US government for terrorism.

“The second point that I want to make is that in Rouhani’s new cabinet there are no women ministers.

“Women are the most repressed in Iran. Thousands of female political prisoners have been executed by this regime only for refusing to accept the despotic rule of the mullahs. Many women suffer today in Iranian jails for speaking out for their rights.
“I can mention the name of Maryam Akbari Monfared who has lost several of her brothers and sisters during the mass executions in Iran in the 1980s. She has a teenage daughter who has not had the opportunity to be with her mother for the past 8 or 9 years. Maryam Akbari made a formal letter of complaint from inside prison about the 1988 massacre and the execution of her family members. After that letter, she has been put under more pressure by the authorities.”

After referring to the 1988 massacre of prisoners by the Iranian regime she criticised the approach of the European Union to the issue of human rights and said:

“I wish to express my deep disappointment of the attitude of the EU and especially Federica Mogherini. She ignores repression against women in Iran and even went to Iran to take part in the ceremony for the second term of Rouhani. Such a policy of closing the eyes to human rights violations and the repression of women in Iran cannot be justified because Europeans want to do business with Iran.

“So to conclude I should emphasize that we as Belgian politicians should remind our government to put human rights first and that this regime in Tehran is not a democratically elected government. So at least we should insist that any expansion of relationship with this regime must be conditioned to a suspension of executions and a clear progress on human rights and situation of women.”

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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