United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office published it annual report on human rights on November 10. Jack Straw the British Foreign Secretary presented the report, on the same day, at a press conference at the Foreign office and answered questions from the media.
The first chapter of the nine-part report lists twenty countries with critical human rights records.
Among those, the report sharply criticises the situation of human rights in Iran and starts by saying: "The last year has been a disappointing one for human rights in Iran. Two events attracted particular international attention: The death of Canadian-Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi in police custody in July 2003 and the mass disqualification of candidates for the Majlis (parliament) election in February 2004."
The report then mentions political repression in Iran and criticises the Iranian constitution. It says: "There is widespread reluctance within the Iranian regime to address the legislative and institutional shortcomings that allow human rights violations to occur." It continues that although the Iranian constitution recognised the fundamental basis of human rights..."But the constitution also contains other provisions restricting the scope of these rights and freedoms when deemed contrary to Islam."
The report puts emphasis on freedom of religion and says that the non-Muslim communities face widespread violation of their rights. It highlights the case of the followers of the Bahaii faith, the largest non-Muslim group in Iran, and calls their treatment a particular concerns.
Our correspondent who was present at the press conference asked Mr. Straw whether he thinks that the emphasis of EU negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue and Europe's eagerness to entice Iran to halt its nuclear activities would be a reason to compromise human rights?
"No, I don't think these are alternatives at all. I think one compliments the other. We wish to see Iran fully in compliance with its obligations under the Non Proliferation Treaty which is the purpose of negotiations in respect of its nuclear dossier." Said Jack Straw and added:
"Of course we would also wish to see Iran fully accept and respect all its other obligations including those under the UN charter of human rights. And as I already said we are concerned about the deterioration in some areas of human rights in Iran."
... Payvand News - 11/17/04 ... --