Amnesty International recently released a 94-page report entitled “Caught in a Web of Repression – Iran Human Rights Defenders Under Attack”, which detailed the situation for those in Iran who stand up for human rights against the regime.
In the wake of this report, Friends of a Free Iran in the European Parliament issued a statement, calling on the EU and European governments to condition their relationships with Iran to halt of executions and a clear progress on human and women rights.
“The Iranian authorities have waged a ‘vicious’ crackdown on human rights defenders since Hassan Rouhani became president, demonizing and imprisoning activists who dare to stand up for people’s rights,” said Amnesty International.
Throughout their report, Amnesty International provided a comprehensive overview of the crackdown, which has targeted activists from various key battlegrounds, including anti-death penalty campaigners, women’s rights activists, trade unionists, minority rights activists, and human rights lawyers.
Friend of a Free Iran also noted in their statement that 101 executions were registered in July 2017, which included two women, dozens of youngsters and two public executions. As part of their report, Amnesty called on the EU to speak out in the strongest terms against the persecution of human rights defenders.
“The EU must not stay silent over the outrageous treatment of human rights defenders in Iran…Instead of appeasing Iranian officials, the EU should forcefully call for immediate and unconditional release of all those jailed for their peaceful human rights activism and for an end to the misuse of the justice system to silence activists,” said Amnesty International’s report.
It must be noted that President Hassan Rouhani has not been the moderate that many international leaders had hoped he would be. During his first term in office over 3,000 people were hanged in Iran. Recently, 265 members of the European Parliament signed a joint declaration calling on the EU and European governments to condition their relations with Iran to improvements on human rights.
“In these circumstances, we are deeply concerned that the European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini will travel to Tehran on August 5 to attend the inauguration ceremony of Rouhani’s second term, according to her spokesman,” said Gerard Deprez Belgian MEP and Chair of Friends of a Free Iran in the European Parliament.
According to Beatriz Becerra, a Spanish MEP, the visit of Ms Mogherini is an opportunity for her to use the globally agreed mandate to shore up non-negotiable human rights improvements.
“We still have the best opportunity ever to demand from Iran other kinds of concrete achievements. For example, improvements in specific human rights, which we didn’t yet do,” said Becerra, referencing the nuclear agreement of 2015, which gives the EU leverage to force this human rights issue front and center. The question is will Mogherini follow through on this visit or will human rights in Iran continue to take a back seat?