Rights groups challenge Iran leader at racism meeting

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(AFP) The wearing of the veil is obligatory for all women in Iran.
(AFP) The wearing of the veil is obligatory for all women in Iran.

On Sunday, April 19, 2009, AFP reported the following development:

Human rights groups on Sunday challenged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to eliminate severe discrimination in Iran, ahead of his arrival at a UN conference against racism and intolerance in Geneva.

The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the Baha’i International Community (BIC) and the Iranian League for Human Rights (LDDHI) said Ahmadinejad must tackle discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, women, and halt incitement to hatred.

“By coming to the Durban Review Conference, President Ahmadinejad signals a commitment to the conference’s goals of eliminating all forms of discrimination and intolerance,” said Diane Ala’i, the BIC’s representative at the UN in Geneva.

“His first move on returning home, then, should be to address the severe discrimination and persecution that have flourished under his tenure,” she added.

Ahmadinejad is the most prominent head of state scheduled to address the opening of the UN review conference on Monday, which is being boycotted by the United States, Israel, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.

His virulent anti-Israel statements and comments casting doubt on the Holocaust have prompted fears that his speech could overshadow the primary aim of the conference, to take stock of racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance around the world.

The rights groups said religious discrimination was widespread in Iran, notably affecting Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Sufis, Sunni Muslims, and other minorities, through arbitrary arrests, intimidation and harassment.

They also accused Iranian government-controlled media of fomenting hatred against Baha’is, and warned that repression against activists belonging to ethnic minorities including the Kurds was “rising dramatically”.

“Human rights have sharply deteriorated in Iran under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, as well as against women, are of grave concern,” said Karim Lahidji of LDDHI.

The human rights groups called on governments taking part in the conference, as well as the media, to hold Ahmadinejad accountable for violations in Iran.

[Source: http://www.france24.com/en/20090419-rights-groups-challenge-iran-leader-racism-meet]

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4 Responses

  1. Barmak Kusha

    April 20, 2009 3:45 am

    From the Press Release of the 3 mentioned organizations:

    ” If he desires to lend genuine support to the Durban process, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should address the severe forms of discrimination faced by minority groups in his own country when he speaks at the Durban Review Conference here this week, said the Bahá’í International Community (BIC), the Iranian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LDDHI) and the Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme (FIDH) today.

    “By coming to the Durban Review Conference, President Ahmadinejad signals a commitment to the conference’s goals of eliminating all forms of discrimination and intolerance,” said Diane Ala’i, the BIC’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva. “His first move on returning home, then, should be to address the severe discrimination and persecution that have flourished under his tenure.”

    Reply
  2. Mark Obenauer

    April 20, 2009 3:54 am

    I hope this happens: that President Ahmadinejad institutes civil rights legislation in Iran that protects religious and other minorities in Iran and criminalizes discrimination and hate crimes against these minorities. It really is to benefit of Iran as a nation and if he and the ulama support this kind of of legislation, it could start a new golden age.

    Reply
  3. Sangi

    April 20, 2009 4:00 am

    You can continue to hope, Mark. You will hope for a long time. In the meantime, what I and many others, including the Baha’i international community, will be doing is doing all we can legally to bring the light on these bigots and reactionary, hate-filled thugs who rule Iran.

    Reply
  4. Mark Obenauer

    April 20, 2009 6:53 am

    Sangi:

    I am sure the Baha’i’ International Community has some novel way of dealing with what is happening to religious minorities in Iran. Forgive me, but if you succeed, you will have accomplished something that has rarely been accomplished in World history. I believe in you and I pray that you succeed!

    Mark

    Reply

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