- Religious Freedom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON – David Anderson, Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills-Grasslands and Official Opposition Critic for International Human Rights and Religious Freedom, has joined with colleagues to highlight Iran’s regrettable record on human rights, peace and security during Iran Accountability Week 2017 (May 8-12).
“The Iranian regime has created a cesspool of corruption and violence,” said Anderson. “Regionally, Iran continues to threaten Israel with annihilation and promotes instability within the Middle East. Internationally, the regime has expanded its support of state sponsored terrorism. Domestically, its leaders have doubled down on their campaign of destruction of religious minorities, carrying out public executions, the criminalization of fundamental freedoms, and torture in detention – all within a culture of impunity. ”
Anderson made special note of the cradle-to-grave persecution experienced by the Bahá’í minority. “For decades, the Bahá’í have been deprived of their livelihoods, education and legal rights. Two hundred have been killed or executed since 1979,” said Anderson. Witnesses at the Sub-Committee on International Human Rights, including former MP Irwin Cotler, noted that Iran’s treatment of the Bahá’í can be seen as a litmus test of their commitment to basic freedoms.
Of particular concern to Anderson is the imprisonment of seven Bahá’í religious leaders, serving a 10-year sentence for nothing more than their beliefs and religious activities. This week, on the ninth anniversary of their imprisonment, Anderson joined thousands of international voices calling for the unconditional release of the ‘Bahá’í Seven.’
Anderson also expressed disappointment that the Trudeau government remains committed to re-establishing diplomatic relations with the regime. “It is regrettable that the Liberal government is more interested in sitting at the negotiating table with President Rouhani than listening to international human rights defenders like Irwin Cotler. Mr. Cotler has unequivocally stated that Iran has persistently demonstrated these patterns of persecution and prosecution. The regime is simply not willing to change.”
“Iran Accountability Week reminds Canadians that the regime’s transgressions remain too critical to ignore for any human rights-minded Canadian,” concluded Anderson. “These issues should trump any economic relationship on the Liberal government’s agenda.”
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