Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Human Rights (10)


Iran Live Coverage: "UN Human Rights Investigator Bribed by US", Regime Claims

See also Iran Feature: Week in Civil Society --- From International Women's Day to the Death of Hugo Chavez
Friday's Iran Live Coverage: Chest-Beating for the Next Nuclear Talks

1701 GMT: CyberWatch. More on the curious story of the blocking of "illegal" Virtual Private Networks, which allow users to circumvent filtering and surveillance....

The curiosity is not VPNs have been declared illegal --- that has long been the case --- but that Fars pulled the news, soon after posting it. The screenshot of the story before it disappeared:

Other sites, like Fararu, continue to carry the story.

Activists report that services like Skype and Viber are now blocked in Iran.

Last month, officials said that Iranians could register for a "legal" VPN through a Government site, but this was soon off-line and is still not available.

Blocked in Iran will tell you if a site is filtered inside Iran.

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EA Special: 10 Predictions for 2013 --- Assad Gone, an Angry Middle East, and Little Change on "Human Rights"

See also 2012 in Review: How Did EA's Predictions Turn Out?

1. Syria --- The Assad Regime Will Fall It remains unclear what happens once President Assad is gone, but his regime will crumble in 2013. It may find some corner of Lattakia or Tartous to claim as a new capital for some time, but this will not last.

Assad's presence in the east has been reduced to a single airbase near Deir Ez Zor. Insurgents, led by Islamists, are also moving into Raqqa Province, and Hassakah will soon be cut off. The regime's supply lines to Aleppo are completely cut, with insurgents picking off military bases outside the city.

Eventually, Aleppo will fall. Insurgents will march south from Idlib Province, first taking Hama, then Homs, and then on to Damascus. If the Assad regime survives and is not overtaken by a surge in the capital before this, then the regime will have its back against the wall. The majority of Syria will already be in someone else's hands.

But whose hands?

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Saturday Video Feature: Human Rights, Gangnam Style

Amnesty UK joins Indian artist Anish Kapoor and artists to put Human Rights into Gangnam Style --- and vice-versa.

Repressed dissidents honoured by the video include artist Ai Weiwei, whose own Gangnam tribute is briefly shown, and Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng, whose case is highlighted on Amnesty UK's "Take Action" page.

The video also links to the campaign of the "International Day to End Impunity".


Iran Propaganda 101: Press TV Re-Arranges Ban Ki-Moon's Words

On Thursday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran. Press TV did not cover the speech. Instead it used Ban Ki-Moon's press conference today --- rewriting the translation on its own video --- to claim, "UN Censures West’s Threats Against Iran's Nuclear Energy Program".

A comparison of the Press TV account and what Ban Ki-Moon said on Thursday....


Press TV: “I have condemned the threats by any member state to destroy or delegitimize another. I have reminded the leaders...throughout the world to lower the volume and stop the provocation that can lead the area down a slippery slope of conflict."

Ban Ki-Moon: "For the sake of peace and security in this region and globally, I urge the Government of Iran to take the necessary measures to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme."

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Syria Analysis: The Local Coordination Committees Issue a "Code of Conduct" for Free Syrian Army

The Local Coordination Committees have been officially opposed to insurgency. Their members have not taken up arms, and the protests organized by the organisation remain committed to peaceful defiance. However, the LCC clearly supports the actions of the Free Syrian Army and recognise that the FSA's operations are likely to bring the eventual unravelling of the regime.

This document seeks to establish the idea of a clear separation between civilian leaders and military leaders, with the former in charge of the latter. And here's the most important thing to note --- some of the most powerful and influential members of the Free Syrian Army, including many influential local and regional brigade commanders, have signed.

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Syria Snap Analysis: Kofi Annan - Lost on the Road to Damascus

See also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A UN Envoy in Damascus

The Syrian National Council's Burhan Ghalioun has today condemned statements made by the UN's envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, suggesting that a political solution in Syria is possible, and desireable:

These kind of comments are disappointing and do not give a lot of hope for people in Syria being massacred every day. It feels like we are watching the same movie being repeated over and over again ...

Any political solution will not succeed if it is not accompanied by military pressure on the regime ...

As an international envoy, we hope he will have a mechanism for ending the violence ...My fear is that, like other international envoys before him, the aim is to waste a month or two of pointless mediation efforts.

These statements echo those made by the ranking members of the Free Syrian Army, other ranking members of the SNC, the various splinter groups, many of whom are even more hawkish than the SNC, every contact we have within the opposition, and nearly every single video that comes out of Syria.

Our assessment - We've been wondering if Kofi Annan is in the right country. Maybe he got lost on the road to Damascus, because from what we've seen, there is no chance of reconciliation between the regime and the opposition.

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Iran Special: An Appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur (Alinejad)

Former Maldives foreign minister Ahmed Shaheed has been assigned UN Special Rapporteur to Iran in order to investigate the human rights abuses. Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad writes this open letter (reprinted with permission from the author) with a simple message:

"Number Of Iranians Killed Is A Tragedy, Not A Mere Statistic:"

To Dr. Ahmed Shaheed United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran

Allow me to begin with my best wishes for a great success in your new mission.

Twenty six months have passed since the 2009 Presidential elections in Iran and the waves of mass protests that followed. Peaceful protests were met with the large-scale shutdown of free communication, censorship of independent press, dismantling of opposition parties and a bloody crackdown on protesting citizens, leading to the arrest and incarceration of tens of thousands of political activists, party leaders, members of unions-- particularly those of journalists, students, teachers--and workers across the country.

The government claimed that only three people were killed as a result of torture in prison, but based on credible local media outlets who had interviewed at least forty seven families with dead family members, the real number is in excess of official figures. Many Iranian reporters believe that the number of people killed in the aftermath of the elections was significantly higher-- this notwithstanding that the raping and murdering of prisoners and government critics began long before the 2009 elections.

Iran is a part of the global community, and hence it is obligated to respect and to uphold certain ethical and internationally recognized values. Based on Section 7 of the International Criminal Laws, organized military action against unarmed citizens of a country constitutes crimes against humanity.

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Iran Essay Contest (3rd Place): Integrating Human Rights --- Politics, Sexual Orientation, and Poverty

This is not just a problem for the excluded group in question, be it sexual minorities or the poor. It has implications for how our civil society envisions a new culture that is respectful of difference, and values equality and diversity. We cannot claim to work for creating a human-rights oriented system that would respect the fundamental rights of its citizens to personhood, privacy, freedom and equality, but remain indifferent to --- worse yet, supportive of --- structures that either fail to recognize the right of all humans to human rights or fall short of empowering all humans to meaningfully claim and exercise their rights.

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Wikileaks Document: Syria's Assad Gives the Ultimate Response to the US on Human Rights 

Senator Cardin pressed on, insisting that Syria should adhere to widely accepted international standards. He explained, "When the U.S. is challenged, you see it on the front page of the newspaper."

Was Assad now cornered? Not at all.

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Iran Guidance: How Should the US Talk with Tehran?

An EA correspondent writes:

Marginalising Ahmadinejad and his stubbornly anti-Western thought is the only way forward for meaningful dialogue with people inside the regime, but even then at the cost of throwing the human rights issue under the train: no regime insider, not even more flexible ones such as Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, will come to terms on that front.

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