On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, December 10, cross-party MPs from both Houses of Parliament held a conference in the House of Commons discussing the state of human rights and the current political situation in Iran, the region as well as a recent terrorist attack on Camp Liberty.
Speakers at the conference that was chaired by co-Chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, included: Rt Hon. David Jones MP; Steve McCabe MP; Bob Blackman MP; Jim Shannon MP; Rt Hon. Lord Dholakia; Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE; Lord Maginnis of Drumglass; Lord Cotter; Peter Carter QC, Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales; Peter Mathews TD, Independent member of the Irish Parliament; Paulo Casaca, former MEP; Mrs Dowlat Nowrouzi, NCRI UK Representative and Linda Lee, former President of the Law Society of England and Wales.
In her remarks to the conference, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Mrs Maryam Rajavi, thanked the MPs from both Houses of Parliament for their efforts to promote human rights in Iran and said ”The mullahs’ brutality in violating our people’s rights is because they want to hold on to power. It’s because the people of Iran … have not surrendered to this barbarism [and] staged a widespread resistance against the regime. Every month, teachers, students, workers and other strata stage hundreds of protests. Every day, the protests become louder. Even political prisoners send messages from inside the jails calling on people to resist … [these] protests have inspired many uprisings so far will ultimately realise the great change and make Iran the cradle of human rights and freedom.”
On Camp Liberty, Mrs Rajavi said, “Since 2009, 141 PMOI members have been killed and hundreds more, seriously wounded or disabled in these attacks … It is time for US and UN to fulfill their promise and make sure residents are allowed to sell their property at Camp Ashraf to finance their relocation.”
In their remarks, MPs warned that the human rights situation in Iran is worsening with a shocking increase in executions, especially in the months following the nuclear deal, contrary to Rouhani's rhetoric. They also raised serious concerns over the recent wave of arrest of journalists and students and heavy crackdown on media, describing it as a coordinated campaign to silence popular dissent and consolidating the regime's grip on power.
Speakers welcomed the remarks by Foreign Office Minister, the Rt Hon. Baroness Anelay of St Johns DBE with regard to a recent UN resolution on situation of human rights in Iran that censures Tehran regime for systematic human rights abuses calling on the Iranian authorities to end executions, public hangings and the use of torture and other degrading punishments.
MPs also condemned the seventh deadly attack on members of the Iranian opposition, the PMOI, in Camp Liberty, Iraq, at the behest of Tehran regime, when 80 rockets hit the camp and killed 24 camp residents and critically injured many more. This major terrorist attack comes simultaneous with regime's Security Organs arresting family member of political prisoners and the PMOI inside Iran.
Lord Carlile of Berriew, co-Chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), who chaired the conference said “we welcome the FCO's commitment to take action and turn words into action. We call upon the UK and EU to make any relations with Tehran contingent upon concrete and verifiable improvement of human rights situation in Iran, including an end to executions and release of political prisoners.”
Rt Hon. David Jones MP, President of the International Parliamentary Campaign in Defence of Ashraf and Liberty (IPCDA) said, “the UK and U.S. governments must act to secure minimum protection of the resident of Camp Liberty, including entry of protective vests and T-walls as well as aerial protection from future missile attack. They must also pressure the Government of Dr Al-Abadi to dismiss officials with known ties to the Iranian regime, from the Governmental Committee in charge of the camp and its security. These official are responsible for attacks on Camp Liberty and must be prosecuted for their crimes against humanity.”
“The government should also recognise the Iranian people's democratic aspirations by engaging with the NCRI and its president-elect, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, and support her ten point plan for future Iran, as a viable option and road-map to root out extremism and fundamentalism from the region”, he add.
Rt Hon. Lord Dholakia said, ”the government should take the lead on the international stage to name and shame human right abusers in Iran and end the spiral of impunity by imposing punitive sanctions on those responsible for appalling crimes, including the Supreme Leader and Senior IRGC officials. UK must call for their prosecution in International Tribunal.”
Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE said, ”I join my colleagues and call on the government to take concrete actions to stop executions in Iran, including the use of death penalty against juveniles and minors in line with the recommendation in the latest UN resolution against Tehran. These executions are serious breached of international conventions.”
Steve McCabe MP said “there has been more than 2000 executions, including that of juveniles during Hassan Rouhani's two years tenure, which is unprecedented in the last 25 years and exceeds that of his predecessor, Ahmadinejad, by over 40%. We can no longer turn a blind eye to what is happening in Iran. The UK government must stand with the brave women and youth in Iran since the theocratic regime has nothing but repression, terrorism and fundamentalism to offer to the world.”
Paulo Casaca, former MEP and Executive Director of the Brussels based ARCHumankind, presenting his new report on human rights in Iran said “during the détente between the West and the former Soviet Union in the early 1970s, the West never ignored values such as human rights and fundamental freedoms, which are landmark achievements of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. However, during the nuclear negotiations with Iran, the West failed to uphold these principles and ignored the systematic human rights violations of the Iranian regime against its own citizens. Additionally, by ignoring Tehran's interference in the internal affairs of its neighbouring countries, this has subsequently resulted in a regional humanitarian crisis not witnessed since the Second World War.”
Mrs Dowlat Nowrouzi, NCRI UK Representative, thanked MPs for their invaluable support and said, “the terrorist missile attack against defenceless members of the Iranian opposition in Camp Liberty on 29th of October 2015 and the vicious recent terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November are two sides of the same coin. They have the same origin, which is the Iranian regime as Godfather of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. However, the issue is not Islam waging a war against West rather the Muslims themselves whether Shi'ite or Sunni have been primary victims of these terrorist fundamentalists. The real issue for these terrorists is to justify their crime and repression in the name of God and Islam to hold on to power. This crisis and threat have a solution and that is to empower the genuine Iranian opposition movement, the NCRI, led by Mrs Rajavi and her ten point plan for a democratic and secular Iran.”
British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
10 December 2015