While the international community continues to make strides in addressing human rights issues and abuses around the world, a recent report by Amnesty International on the State of the World’s Human Rights is evidence that there is still much work to be done.
One such country whose record has continued to cause concern within the international community is Iran. Here the Iranian regime heavily suppresses the rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and the freedom of religion and belief. Those who attempt to voice a different political belief or idea are severely repressed, often through unjust trials, arrests, beatings, and torture.
Cruel punishments, including floggings and imputations, are routine. They are used to repress the Iranian people. The authorities also use the death penalty excessively, including on those who are juvenile offenders. Discrimination against members of the Iranian people are focused on differences, including ethnicity, disability, religious belief, and gender.
In March of 2017, the UN Human Rights Council renewed its mandate for a UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, but she was denied access to Iran, as were other UN experts.
In May of that same year, Iranian President Rouhani was elected for a second term and his cabinet is full of individuals who have been accused of being party to the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, along with thousands of other examples of human rights abuses.
Recently, the Minister of Justice Ali Reza Avaei has been the target of protests due to his human rights record. The Justice Minister is scheduled to speak in front of the UN Human Rights Council on February 27, and there have been calls for his speech invitation to be rescinded by the Iranian Resistance, including the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Other leaders have called his speech a mockery of the Human Rights Council, due to his personal human rights record, along with the regime’s record.
As the Justice Minister, Avaei is in charge of the Iranian prison system, where prisoners are routinely denied basic necessities, including medical care, as well as food and water. They also suffer from ill treatment, including torture and solitary confinement. Those who attempt to protest using hunger strikes find themselves denied family visits and medical care. To stop hunger strikes from getting any notice, many of the individuals who start hunger strikes are put into solitary confinement as well.
Others are targeted by the regime, including journalists, filmmakers, musicians, and various activists. The recent protests involved the arrest of thousands of protesters. Reports have also emerged that security forces were involved in the killing and injuring of armed protesters using excessive force and firearms against an unarmed population.
However, the pressure from the regime even in the spreading of ideas through the internet. Social media is actively policed by the regime, to the point that some applications are being blocked. Others are being created with spyware, so that the regime can track individuals and who they are conversing with.
According to Amnesty International, “judicial officials had exerted persistent pressure on the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology to request that Telegram relocate its servers to Iran and close tens of thousands of Telegram channels, which according the judiciary ‘threatened national security’ or ‘insulted religious values’. Telegram said it rejected both requests.”
The continued actions by the Iranian regime and their mullahs is based on a fundamentalism that fuels terrorism. For the international community to truly make a difference in the lives of the Iranian people, it is important to stand up the regime and its actions, thus making the regime responsible for its choices.