31 October 2013
Statement by the Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the
Agenda Item 69(c): Human Rights Situations
and Reports of Special Rapporteurs and Special Representatives
New York, 31st October 2013
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
We wonder if any member of this universal body including so- called champions of human rights can claim perfection in human rights records and should be beyond the international scrutiny. While naturally we have not such a claim. Iran, especially after the recent presidential election, has put a new emphasis on its unwavering dedication towards the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law at the national and international levels. Accordingly, we believe that biased approach towards human rights situation in some countries and turning blind eyes to the situations in other countries, erodes the credibility of the United Nation’s human rights mechanisms and undermines the capacity of states for genuine promotion and protection of human rights at national level and obviously put such claims under question.
It is regrettable that the present system of human rights monitoring opens doors for a selective and counter-productive treatment by a group of countries who claim to be the champions of human rights. Furthermore, it is deploring that despite the existence of the UPR mechanism in the Human Rights Council, the number of country specific mandates are on the rise and selective country specific resolutions continue to be tabled, thus turning the highly valued concept of human rights into a tool of foreign policy for certain states.
As a result, it is no wonder that under such a system, Canada with a questionable human rights record particularly on the rights of indigenous peoples, aboriginal, and religious, linguistic and ethnic minorities including African Canadian, Muslim, and Asian minorities assumes itself to be a human rights champion.
Three United Nations reviews conducted in 2012, all founded cases of human rights abuse, especially with regard to the indigenous peoples. According to the reports: “By every measure,
be it respect for treaty and land rights, levels of poverty, average life spans, violence against women and girls, dramatically disproportionate levels of arrest and incarceration or access to government services such as housing, health care, education, water and child protection, indigenous peoples and aboriginal across Canada continue to face a grave human rights crisis.”
Iran notes the recent engagement of the Government of Canada with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But despite positive steps, daunting challenges remain. All of us together with the special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the other UN human rights mechanisms who have long held profound concerns about the Canadian government’s ruthless oppression of its own indigenous peoples, wish to believe that Canada is genuinely committed to positive change at home on the Minorities rights and try to overcome human rights crisis with respect to indigenous and aboriginal peoples.
Indigenous, African Canadian and Asian women continue to face serious discrimination in law and practice. The long shadow of residential schools in Canada, combined with other historical oppressions is disturbing phenomenon of aboriginal women missing and murdered at the hands of both aboriginal and non- aboriginal assailants, whose cases have a much higher tendency to remain unresolved than those involving non- aboriginal victims.
The United Nations has previously documented the horrifying stories of abuse and cultural dislocation of indigenous students who were forced from their homes into schools whose explicit purpose was to destroy their family and community bonds, their language, their culture, and their dignity, and from which thousands never returned. It is clear that the residential school period continues to cast a long shadow of despair on indigenous communities. As the Special Rapporteur, rightly mentioned and I quote: “the mark on Canada’s history left by the residential schools is a matter of concern” to all of indigenous and aboriginal peoples and the entire of international community.
We maintain that Canada needs to address the issue of human rights abuse in a broader and more comprehensive manner such as women’s rights, corporate accountability and trade policy, the rights of refugees and migrants, and engagement with the multilateral human rights system. We call upon Canada to draw a new human rights agenda in order to establish a formal mechanism for transparent, effective and accountable implementation of the country’s international human rights obligations.
The Islamic Republic of Iran invites the EU, to use the momentum engendered by the recent presidential election in Iran, to take a new approach based on dialogue, constructive engagements, cooperation and mutual respect and understanding in the field of human rights. In the meantime, we are concerned over the human rights violations in some EU countries, which reportedly doubled in five years. In this regard, Iran remains deeply disturbed over the escalating discrimination and xenophobic attitudes and actions against minorities in EU including Muslims, Roma and migrants.
Since the last session of the General Assembly, the world had witnessed the new and emerging forms of human rights violation such as the mass and unwarranted surveillance of private and public life of the peoples of across the world, continuation of the use of drones as a new means of escaping accountability for military actions and encouraging for extremism, terrorism and racism, intolerance and imposing unilateral and exterritorial sanctions.
Those new phenomena remind us of our obligation in taking an impartial, balanced and non-politicized approach towards human rights situations.