Canada’s House of Commons: Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Jan 3, 20110 comments

Download the full report as a PDF here. The report’s Executive Summary can be found below.

Executive Summary In the summer of 2009, Canadians and the rest of the international community looked on with concern as Iranian security forces cracked down on protesters in the wake of that country’s June 12 presidential election. In many respects, this development was another high profile example of the Iranian authorities’ poor record with respect to human rights. The events surrounding the contested election also offered a rare glimpse of the internal tensions present in the country. The dramatic protests in Iran last summer, the response of the Iranian authorities, and the reaction of the international community served to sharpen the focus of a study by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (hereinafter the Subcommittee). The Subcommittee had begun to examine Iran’s record with respect to international human rights in the 39th Parliament, when it held hearings and prepared a report on the Bahá’í community in Iran. The report was subsequently adopted by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (hereinafter the Committee) and tabled in the House of Commons on March 5, 2009. Concerned about what seemed to be the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, the Subcommittee decided to undertake a broader study into the mistreatment of the Iranian population by the governing regime, and also into the Iranian government’s role regionally and internationally with respect to human rights and violations of international law. With regard to its international role, the Subcommittee is particularly concerned about the Iranian leadership’s aggressive rhetoric and its role in supporting terrorist organizations, both of which are targeted against the state and people of Israel. Even more alarming is the mistrust the Iranian government has created around its nuclear program and the potentially lethal consequences if a military application of this nuclear program were to become a reality. Between March 10 and October 29, 2009, the Subcommittee held sixteen hearings on these subjects. It heard from expert witnesses, human rights activists representing non-governmental organizations, academics, and lawyers. In light of this testimony, the Subcommittee makes the following assessments:

  • The Iranian regime has a long history of systemic and widespread human rights violations against its own people. These abuses violate its population’s right to life, freedom from discrimination based on religion, sex, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and political opinions. Often  times, these abuses violate Iran’s own domestic laws.
  • Recording and reporting these violations has been problematic as domestic human rights organizations are often shut down by government officials, and journalists and activists are regularly harassed. Those who attempt to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its actions are often subject to arbitrary arrest under the guise of national security.

Download the full report as a PDF here.