This week, a revolutionary court in Iran sentenced Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian-Canadian blogger, to 19½ years in prison. He had allegedly “propagated against the holy government of the Islamic Republic” and “co-operated with enemy states” because he visited Israel five years ago.
Mr. Derakhshan is among hundreds of innocent men and women who are facing death or lengthy sentences for having a blog or communicating with foreign broadcasters. Families of prisoners are intimidated and threatened with arrest by government agents. Opposition leaders are harassed by government-supported vigilantes. The human-rights situation in Iran has never been graver. The international community must protect Iranians from their own government. A United Nations monitor should be assigned to investigate and report on human-rights violations in Iran.
Each year, under the leadership of Canada, the UN General Assembly adopts a resolution cataloguing Iran’s dismal record. But the international community must go one step further to stop the Iranian government from brutalizing its citizens. Canadians have many reasons to take pride in their government’s proven leadership on human rights in Iran. Canada can, and should, rise to the challenge now faced by the international community and lead the charge in instituting a much-needed mechanism for a UN representative to monitor human rights in Iran on a daily basis.