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Iranians Citizenship Rights Charter awaiting thumbs-up: Presidential Advisor

Source: Tehran Times

Iran says it has finished a draft of the long-waited-for Citizenship Rights Charter after it underwent a thorough revision, now awaiting for an approval by the Majlis (Iran's parliament), government, or cabinet.

Presidential Advisor Elham Aminzadeh

"An initial draft of the Citizenship Rights Charter was drawn up just months after President Rouhani took office and made available to the public in November 2013," Elham Aminzadeh, the presidential advisor on citizenship rights, told the Tehran Times on Monday.

Aminzadeh said it took until now to come up with the first and second versions of the charter after having listened to public and expert opinions of a pool of resources.

"We drew upon the experience and knowledge of universities, seminaries, NGOs, minority groups, and other executive bodies in drafting the text," she stated.

The protracted delay was also owing to the administration's focus on the nuclear deal, Aminzadeh added.

Distributing framework of Citizenship Rights Charter
cartoon by Naeem Tadayyon, Shahrvand daily

The initial draft caught the attention of hundreds of thousands of Iranians who commented on the document, according to the presidential advisor.

"94 percent of the people found it very positive toward the manuscript with more than 20,000 comments dropped on it once available on the government's official website."

'Citizenship Rights Charter a declaration of citizens' entitlement

Referring to a superfluous number legislations accruing from years of lawmaking in the country's contemporary history, Aminzadeh stressed the charter is simply a declaration of citizens' rights.

"The charter informs our citizens of their natural and citizenship rights, and this is important because they need to know they have rights."

This matters greatly as it is the people who should stand up for their rights either individually or in groups such as non-governmental organizations.

One domain the Iranians have recently shown growing sensitivity to is the environment, about which Aminzadeh said, "It is our people's right to ask for clean air, water, and soil. Through NGOs and their connections with the government, it will be easier to address these issues."

Aminzadeh gave child marriage as another example.

"In the province of Khorasan Razavi there are women who married refugees from neighboring countries and can't get Iranian ID as their husbands are not Iranian," she lamented.

"...these women make the same mistake about their daughters by marrying them to other refugees," she added.

"What we have to do is to inform these parents of the problems and hardships they are likely to face in the future," she explained.

Internal and external sources used to draw up citizenship charter

Aminzadeh said both internal and external sources have been used to draft the charter.

"We've done our best be eclectic, and have used primarily internal sources such as Islamic and Quranic teachings. Among other religious resources we have extracted content from the Nahj al-Balagha (a famous collection of sermons, letters, tafsirs and narrations attributed to Imam Ali (AS), and Sahife Sajjadiya (by fourth Shiite Imam Sajad).

"Of course, we were also mindful of external sources. The Foreign Ministry was very helpful in our attempt to benefit from external sources, as well. Our embassies conducted some sort of research into civil rights charters in a number of countries to see how we could pick elements from each. For instance, we investigated if the charters were in the form of bills, orders, declarations, or charters. Or what agencies are responsible for observing human rights in other countries."

On external resources, she said, "Also, wider considerations were taken care of in the civil rights document we have drafted. These considerations are in line with international documents such as Universal Declaration on Human Rights, International Covenants on Political and Civil Rights and on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention against Torture, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, etc."

The president's advisor also was mindful of the practical dimension of the initiative, saying all, including the people, should join hands to make the initiative successful.

"The government will take the primary responsibility to implement the charter. But, NGOs, our citizens, media can each play key role, as well. Take the government as an example. It's our citizens' right to be equally treated when it comes to national-wide employment tests and governments should guarantee that.

"Also, as part of the government, the Education Ministry can raise citizens' awareness of their civil rights. Non-governmental organizations can be of immense importance for the initiative. They can help hold seminars to introduce top citizens. Last but not least is media, particularly the national TV. Social media also can be a facilitator."

... Payvand News - 11/09/16 ... --

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