Since Iran’s June uprisings, human rights defender Nazanin Afshin-Jam has been on the go attending meetings, speaking at conferences and rallies in solidarity with the Iranian people and now she wants to hear from you. What is the next step for Iran?
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with Nazanin and other representatives of the Persian-Canadian community in British Columbia to hear their perspectives on the situation currently unfolding in Iran, August 4, 2009.
See picture here: http://www.daylife.com/photo/0g0W3n3ffOfYM
After the meeting, Prime Minister Harper issued a statement about the regime in Iran, its handling of the disputed June presidential elections and its subsequent violent crackdown against protesters:
"Our position on Iran is clear - the recent actions by the Iranian authorities are unacceptable to us and inconsistent with any tolerable standard of human rights,'' Prime Minister Harper said in the statement. "Iran must stop using violence against its own people, release political prisoners and journalists who have been unjustly detained and allow both domestic and international media to report freely. Our government also stands proudly with the people of Iran and with members of our own Persian community who are demanding a full and transparent investigation into allegations of electoral fraud during June's Presidential vote.''
Full article here: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-eng.do?m=/index&nid=471659
After the meeting Nazanin said: "I am proud that Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, does not recognize Ahmadinejad as the legitimate President of Iran. It was impressive how much the PM knew about the human rights abuses taking place in Iran. The Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney who was also present spoke about how the Iranian government is not allowing Canada to have any more agents in the embassy in Iran to process visa applications. I would really like to see the Iranian-Canadian Diaspora unite in forming a Think Tank or Commission of sorts to provide practical recommendations to our government on how they should deal with the Iran crisis."
Points Nazanin had raised with Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney and other Canadian Members of Parliament including Minister of Defence Peter Mackay, Andrew Saxton and official liaison to the Persian community John Weston in the last few weeks include:
- Not recognizing Ahmadinejad and his regime as the legitimate representatives of the Iranian people. Following Chancellor Merkel’s example by not congratulating him or sending diplomats at his inauguration. Supporting and standing in solidarity with the freedom-loving members of the civil society in Iran who want democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights.
- Taking a lead role in calling the UN’s Human Rights Council to create an immediate independent and international commission to investigate the grave human rights violations that have taken place pre and post election and urging for the release of all political prisoners
- Iran would not be able to accuse Canada of instigating a velvet revolution, as it has in the cases of the United States, Israel and Britain. Canada has a unique role in using harsher language and force to condemn Iran for human rights violations and allying itself with other more “neutral” and “smaller democracies” including the Scandinavian countries in warning Iranian officials that such crimes will not go with impunity and noncompliance will eventually lead to individuals being tried at the ICC.
- Imposing asset freezes and travel bans on Iranian officials trying to enter Canadian borders.
- Monitoring more closely who is permitted to enter Canada. For example not allowing those like Iran’s Vice President Mr. Esfandyar Rahim Mashaei from entering and giving lectures across Canada as had taken place in March of this year, and allowing people like Shadi Sadr, a well recognized feminist and lawyer who was denied a visa in May to speak at York University. Allowing more student visas to be processed.
- Support Iranian-Canadian NGO’s to be a part of Canada’s delegation to testify against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s human rights abuses at the Universal Periodic Review in February 2010.
- Support the creation of an Iranian-Canadian Commission or Think Tank with leading scholars and experts from the Iranian Diaspora to provide constructive recommendations to the Canadian government on the role it could play in the Iran crisis. This would include suggestions regarding Iran’s nuclear program, world security issues and human rights.
For more of Nazanin’s views and recommendations please see the featured article in the National Post "A Persian Prison State" here:
After millions of people poured out on the streets of Iran following the June 12th fraudulent Presidential (s)elections, hundreds of dissidents have disappeared or have been killed; thousands more have been detained as political prisoners. This week many of those detained stand on trial. It is feared that there could be mass executions in the coming months. As most of those who bravely stood up against the brutality of the current regime were youth, President and Co-Founder of Stop Child Executions Organization, Nazanin Afshin-Jam fears that there could be a surge in juvenile executions. She recently wrote and launched a report with her SCE team in the UK parliament in collaboration with Tahirih Danesh and the Foreign Policy Centre on juvenile executions in Iran. This report will also be submitted to the United Nations prior to Iran's Universal Periodic Review in February 2010.
This comprehensive report "From Cradle to Coffin" can be downloaded here:
http://fpc.org.uk/fsblob/1063.pdf (The report in Persian will be available soon)
Nazanin’s newest version of her song “Someday: the Revolution Song” dedicated to the Iranian people and those who live under oppressive regimes can be found here:
Nazanin has also been speaking at various rallies and demonstrations and conducting media interviews by echoing the voices of the Iranian people to the outside world:
- Nazanin in Washington DC with famous ex-political prisoners including Ahmad Batebi, the band KIOSK, and journalists Rudi Bakhtiar and Luna Shad.
- Nazanin in Vancouver on Global Action Day for Iran speaks at a rally organized by the Iranian Canadian Congress and sings at another one by silentscream alongside Rock Star Bif Naked http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpJJVFCeNTE
- Nazanin speaks at “Rose of Peace” alongside Member of Parliament Andrew Saxton and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Peter Ken http://www.andrewsaxton.ca/index.php?option=com_phocagallery&view=category&id=43:roses-of-peace-forum-with-peter-kent&Itemid=60
- Nazanin in Edmonton for the Global Youth Assembly with the Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean and other amazing activists.
- Nazanin attended an intensive summer course at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in collaboration with the International Centre on Nonviolent Conflict. She recommends checking out the centre for tactics and strategies in non violent civil disobedience. They have great materials (in many languages). http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/
Nazanin is currently working on the creation of a social network site for the socially conscious called “United Voices of the World”. The first chapter of this project will focus on the section “United Voices of Iran” which aims to unite the Iranian Diaspora in support of human rights projects for Iran. She is also trying to help unify Iranian and non-Iranian celebrities for a mass music project which could include a joint song, a compilation CD and/or a live Global concert for Iran.
Nazanin is in talks with Canadian members of Parliament to try and set up an official panel to start the dialogue on the next steps that can be taken to help the civil society in Iran.
Nazanin is a full time volunteer dedicated to human rights. She is an independent and is not part of any political group or organization. If you have any ideas or ways you can help support these and other initiatives Nazanin would like to hear from you. Please contact her office at firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like to make a tax deductable donation to help cover some of Nazanin’s campaign costs please donate to her 501c3 nonprofit organization Stop Child Executions at www.stopchildexecutions.com