Sunday, November 14, 2010

Current Events - Iran's Bid to Join UN Agency


Equality for men and women... something we might take for granted here in Canada. Yet around the world there are many people who do not know the luxary of "equality". The United Nations works hard to promote equality for men and women around the world... Yet in Iran, a country that is trying to join a new UN agency on the equality of women, has sentenced a woman to death by stoning. Yes stoning!!! Sounds barbaric and something out of ancient times, right? Even more unbelievable that the country wants to join a special board for the UN.  It really is hard to believe... read the articles below.

As you read, think about the following questions...
1) What's the issue presented?
2) Why is this an issue to be concerned about?
3) Why should we Canadians be concerned?
4) Why are people around the world outraged by this event?
5) Whose rights are being abused? 
6) How is Jesus present in this news story? 
Who is being mistreated? 
Who is helping?

B) HUMAN RIGHTS IN OUR WORLD: Find an article or newscast that also explores issues relating to human rights. In the form of a PARAGRAPH explain how it connects to this article. You must cite your source for the article (newspaper, on-line news source, or news channel, author of the article or story, and the date.)
Good sites may include:

ARTICLES... SOURCE: cbc and ctv...

Click on the videos on the cbc site link above. 

Iranian woman's execution delayed amid backlash News Staff 
The execution of an Iranian woman who has been sentenced to death has reportedly been stayed for the time being, amid growing criticism of the case from South America to Europe. 
The International Committee against Execution said the Iranian government decided to delay the execution of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, after members of the international community called the sentence troubling and barbaric.
Ashtiani currently faces death by hanging, after Iran changed her charges from adultery to playing a role in the 2005 murder of her husband.
Earlier this week, a Germany-based rights group said that 43-year-old mother's hanging was imminent, reportedly on Wednesday.
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon condemned the country, accusing Iran of failing in nearly every category related to law and order.
"Canada is deeply concerned by reports that Ms. Ashtiani may be sentenced to death by hanging on Wednesday, November 3, 2010," Cannon said in a statement. "We are also concerned by Ms. Ashtiani's ongoing detention, harassment by judicial authorities and denial of due process, as well as by the use of false or coerced confessions in her trial."
The 43-year-old mother of two has been held in prison since 2006 and has already received 99 lashes for having an "illicit relationship" with two men.
She was originally charged with adultery, a sentence that ends in stoning, which elicited Western backlash to the form of execution.
Ashtiani has since been convicted of being an accomplice in her husband's death, which could result in her being hanged instead.
France's foreign minister said on Wednesday that he had received assurances that Iran has not reached a final verdict in the case and that reports of the impending execution were inaccurate.
He also said the French government is "very worried" about the case.
Brazil's female president-elect, Dilma Rousseff, said it would be "barbaric" to stone Ashtiani to death for adultery. However, she did not say what she would do regarding the case once she takes office on Jan. 1.
The European Union and the human rights organization Council of Europe have already condemned Iran. Before her punishment was changed to hanging, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called stoning "barbaric."
Two German reporters were arrested while reportedly trying to interview Ashtiani's son in October, highlighting how sensitive Iran is over the case.
Laureen Harper, the wife of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, co-authored an open letter with Heather Reisman, president of Indigo Books, on Tuesday decrying the "flagrant disregard of women's rights in Iran."
The letter urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to release Ashtiani unconditionally.
"Certainly, this would be welcomed by women around the world as seen as a deeply symbolic gesture toward the betterment of all Iranian women," the letter concludes.
Cannon said the case was more evidence of the deterioration of human rights in Iran.
In September, an Iranian-Canadian blogger was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison for insulting Islamic thoughts and religious figures online.
With files from The Associated Press

Woman's stoning execution undecided: Iran

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | 12:12 PM ET

Iran's foreign minister says no final decision has been made about a woman who could be stoned to death for adultery, France's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday amid reports her execution is imminent.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a statement he has spoken to his Iranian counterpart about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose case has sparked an international outcry.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's execution had been reportedly expected to take place as early as Wednesday in Iran. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's execution had been reportedly expected to take place as early as Wednesday in Iran. (Amnesty International/Associated Press)
Kouchner says Manouchehr Mottaki assured him that a final verdict in Ashtiani's case has not been issued yet and reports "about her eventual execution don't correspond to reality."
Iran has temporarily suspended the stoning verdict and suggested Ashtiani might be hanged instead.
Kouchner said France is "very worried" about the case.
The International Committee against Stoning and International Commitee against Execution said in a statement this week that Iranian authorities had given the go-ahead for Ashtiani's execution, and that it could happen Wednesday. The group would not provide details on where its information came from.
But its report raised alarm in western capitals. The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, was "deeply concerned" by the reports and "demands that Iran halt the execution and convert her sentence," Ashton's office said in a statement.
Ashtiani was first convicted in May 2006 of having an "illicit relationship" with two men after the death of her husband, and a court in Tabriz sentenced her to 99 lashes. Later that year, she was also convicted of adultery, despite having retracted a confession she claims was made under duress.
Ashtiani's case has further elevated tensions between Iran and the West, already running high over suspicions about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's wife, Laureen Harper, and Heather Reisman, president of Indigo, issued an open letter to the president of Iran, urging him to release Ashtiani, saying her case is an "affront to any sense of moral or human decency and is symbolic of the plight of Iranian women."
"As mothers, sisters and daughters, we are gravely concerned about the unfair, undue legal processes faced by women in Iran. Repugnant sentences, such as death by stoning, are routinely rendered against women in Iran," they wrote.

Iranian woman to be hanged Wednesday

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | 10:05 PM ET

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's execution is reportedly expected to take place as early as Wednesday, in Iran. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's execution is reportedly expected to take place as early as Wednesday, in Iran.(Amnesty International/Associated Press)
An Iranian woman convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning will instead be hanged, a German human rights group said Tuesday.
According to a Reuters report, the International Committee against Stoning posted on its website that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is due to be put to death on Wednesday.
Ashtiani, 43, and a mother of two, was convicted in 2006 of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. She had been convicted earlier that year of having an "illicit relationship" with two men after the murder of her husband in 2005. For that, she had been sentenced to 99 lashes.
In September, Iran's English-language television reported that Ashtiani's sentence had been suspended for further review.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said his country is deeply concerned about the fate of Ashtiani.
"We once again urge the government of Iran to reverse the trend of the deterioration of its human rights situation and to meet its legal obligations," he said. "These include ensuring due process for all those that have been detained."
The White House also condemned the planned execution of the woman.

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Iran loses bid to join UN Women

Saudi Arabia gets seat

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | 6:26 PM ET 

Iran's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, seen in this September 2010 file photo, said Iran should not be awarded a seat on the board of a new UN agency to promote women's equality. Iran's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, seen in this September 2010 file photo, said Iran should not be awarded a seat on the board of a new UN agency to promote women's equality. (Thierry Roge/Reuters)
Iran has lost its bid for a seat on the board of a new United Nations agency meant to promote equality for women.
Iran was one of 11 nations on a slate put forward by Asian nations for the election Wednesday to the board of UN Women, which merges four UN agencies dealing with women's issues into a single organization. After the vote, Iran was in last place.
Canada, the United States and Australia had been lobbying behind the scenes to deny Iran a seat.
East Timor, a last-minute entrant on the ballot, was successful.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon issued a release welcoming Iran's exclusion, saying Canada was "deeply troubled by the prospect of Iran's membership" because of its deplorable human rights record, particularly with regard to women.
"Even when it comes to its own citizens, Iranian authorities continue to threaten the protection of the most fundamental human rights," Cannon said. "Canada will continue to urge the Iranian authorities to improve its human rights record and will take every opportunity to do so publicly."

Ex-Chilean president Bachelet to head agency

Meanwhile, another controversial candidate, Saudi Arabia, was also awarded a seat on the board.
Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi said she thinks it's "a joke" that Iran and Saudi Arabia were running for places on the board of UN Women.
The new super-agency was created last July to promote women's rights and gender equality. Former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet will run UN Women, which will have a 41-member executive board, with 35 members chosen by regional groups and six representing donor nations.
Speaking at the UN on Tuesday, Ebadi said the situation in Iran is "deteriorating daily" and that repression in the country has intensified.
"The membership of countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia on this board is like a joke," she said. "This is a mocking situation for the board from the commencement of its work."
Ebadi pointed to Iranian rules that make it difficult for a woman to obtain a passport and noted that in Iran the testimony of two women is equal to that of one man.

Human Rights Watch 'relieved'

Iran has also faced an international outcry over its decision to sentence 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to death by stoning for adultery. Human rights groups around the world criticized the decision and Iran's foreign minister later said a final verdict in Ashtiani's case hadn't been issued yet.
A resolution adopted by the General Assembly last year expressed "deep concern" at Iran's increasing use of executions, death by stoning, torture, flogging and amputations, and its increasing discrimination against religious, ethnic and other minorities.
"We are relieved that the Asia group in the end is not offering Iran a free pass to the board of UN Women," Philippe Bolopion, UN advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
He said his organization has concerns with many countries that are going to be on the board.
"But what sets Iran apart is not just its dismal record on women's rights but also the fact that it's aggressively going after women's rights advocates who dare to speak out against their discriminatory laws," Bolopion said.
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

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