Oct. 7, 2022
OTTAWA – B’nai Brith Canada is calling for an immediate special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to be held on Iran and is asking Canada to spearhead the demand.
Unfortunately, the Council is best known for its obsession with condemning Israel and ignoring human-rights abusers worldwide. Still, it is well placed to hold Iran accountable.
The UNHRC is to wrap up a month of work today (Friday). Its agenda in the past month included discussions on women’s empowerment and the achievement of substantive gender equality. Yet, despite the murder of Mahsa Amini and the brutal repression of mass demonstrators calling for justice and democracy, the UNHRC remains silent on Iran.
“Canada has branded Iran as an exporter of global terrorism under the State Immunity Act. Today, the regime is shooting down its own people in the streets,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “The murder of Mahsa and so many young women emphasize the misogynistic foundation of the Islamic dictatorship and cries out for international bodies to condemn and isolate Iran. It’s shameful that the UNHRC maintains a permanent inquisition into Israel composed of openly antisemitic jurists but runs for cover on Iran.”
A request for a special session needs the approval by a majority of the Council after being proposed by a third of the 47 member states of the Council. Canada is not a member state, but it could support and even lead an initiative for a special session on Iran.
Mostyn noted a mass bipartisan demonstration earlier this week on Parliament Hill to condemn the 1000th day since the Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) wantonly shot down Ukraine Airlines flight PS 752 drew thousands of demonstrators asking Canada to do more to win justice for the families of the victims and to punish Iran.
“There is broad support from the Canadian public for even more stringent measures against Iran,” said Marvin Rotrand, National Director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights “The rogue regime has enjoyed kid-glove treatment as it and its proxies have repeatedly flouted international law. It’s more than appropriate for Canada to call for a special UNHRC session.”
“Earlier this week, Canada announced sanctions on an additional 34 Iranians and Iranian organizations, but the most effective step would be to proscribe the IRGC in its entirety as a terrorist entity as the Americans have,” Mostyn said. “There have been 34 special sessions since the Council formation in 2006, nine of them on Israel, none on Iran. That needs to change.”
A parliamentary motion to ban the IRGC was adopted by Parliament in 2018. To date, Canada only lists the IRGC’s Quds Force as a terrorist group that operates externally. The IRGC terrorizes internally and its activity impacts Canadians such as Zahra Kazemi and the victims of PS 752.
B’nai Brith wonders why there has yet to be a proposed resolution, urgent debate, or inquiry at the UNHRC on behalf of the courageous women of Iran.
We propose six measures for Canadian parliamentarians to support:
1. Calling on the UNHRC to hold a special session with an emphasis on misogyny and the repression of women’s rights in Iran.
2. Listing the IRGC in its entirety as a terrorist entity.
3. Joining the families of the victims of flight PS 752 in their referral of the shooting down of flight PS 752 to the International Criminal Court by making Canada’s own referral to the Court.
4. Referring Iran to the International Civil Aviation Organization for its violation of the Convention on International Civil Aviation by its shooting down of flight PS 752.
5. Listing under Canadian sanction regimes all those Iranians not already listed for whom there are Interpol red notices for their involvement in the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires that saw 85 persons killed.
6. Taking Iran to the International Court of Justice for violation of the Genocide Convention for “direct and public incitement to commit genocide,” in light of Iran’s consistent venomous, anti-Israel rhetoric.