Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Motion to Support Democratic Aspirations of the Iranian People—Debate Continued

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Day:

 

That,
 
(a) Canada supports the democratic aspirations of the people of Iran ;
 
(b) Canada condemns the use of violence and force by Iranian authorities against their own people to suppress pro-democracy demonstrations following the Iranian presidential elections of June 12, 2009;
 
(c) Canada condemns the use of torture by Iranian authorities;
 
(d) Canada calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners held in Iran ;
 
(e) Canada calls on Iran to fully respect all of its human rights obligations, both in law and in practice;
 
(f) Canada condemns Iran ‘s complete disregard for legally binding UN Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737, 1747, and 1803 and International Atomic Energy Agency requirements;
 
(g) Canada affirms its opposition to nuclear proliferation and condemns any pursuit by Iran of nuclear weapons capability;
 
(h) Canada recommends to international organizations of which it is a member that a new set of targeted sanctions be implemented against Iran , in concert with allies, unless Iran comes into compliance with its human rights and nuclear obligations in law and in practice

 
Hon. Hugh Segal: kfl@sen.parl.gc.ca
 
. . . Iran continues to defy the wishes of the democratic world. Iran continues to threaten its neighbours. Iran continues to deny any access in relation to its nuclear aspirations, and Iran continues to disregard the very principle of human rights, all the while claiming legitimacy as a "democratic society." . . .
 
The civilized world should not and must not be silent in the face of human rights abuses nor the looming and very real possibility of a nuclear capacity that could threaten the world far beyond the borders of the Middle East . . . We now know of the recent Israeli naval seizure of 500 tons of weapons and rockets being shipped by the Iranians to Hezbollah and Hamas via Syria . . .
 
Hon. Marcel Prud’homme: prudhm@sen.parl.gc.ca
 
. . .What I would like to ask – and I leave this with my colleagues – is what is the role of Canada ? Is it sufficient? Are we happy to just condemn or to take actions like those of the Minister of Foreign Affairs? I have piles of condemnations, which lead to other condemnations. I like action.
 
I do not think this kind of motion will help the situation at the moment. There is progress being made. Great discussions are going on between the President of the United States of America and Iran .
 
Do we, as Canadians, have to find solutions by strongly and repeatedly condemning? If so, we will have no more partners to help. I will explain next week that the role of Canada is clearly to try to be different. Is our job as senators to be happy to condemn and to ask people if they heard our condemnations? . . .
 
[Translation]
 
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire: dallar@sen.parl.gc.ca
 
. . .I am going to give the example of the Baha’i community in Iran . I am a member of the committee advising the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the prevention of genocides. Based on our observations, the government in Iran is deliberately fomenting genocide against the Baha’is. And this is just a part of that government’s overall policy.
 
In the context of a government that openly tramples human rights, I want to take you back to the doctrine initiated by Canada in 2001 and approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, which has to do with the responsibility to protect. That doctrine is not merely about imposing sanctions that could end up harming children more than anything else.
 
The nuclear component is important, but the human rights situation is awful, and it must be clearly addressed by stressing the responsibility to protect these rights.