It is Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary and the organisation has just published its annual report, reflecting the state of human rights around the world. It shows executions in China and Iran have reached their highest rate in years.
Euronews’ Hossein Alavi spoke to Drewery Dyke, an Iranian affairs expert for Amnesty International.
Euronews: ‘‘What’s the main problem with states, including Iran, which systematically violate human rights? How do they respond to your demands?
Drewery Dyke:’‘ The most important point for implementing human rights standards, is the willingness of states to uphold and implement those standards. The question is, whether those states genuinely have the will and intention to implement international standards. As for Iran, we have been sending regular letters and reports, but we have never received a reply. They do not like talking to us.’‘
Euronews: ‘‘What is Amnesty International’s assessment regarding the situation of human rights activists, unions, and political parties in Iran?’‘
Drewery Dyke: ‘‘Defenders of human rights, including journalists and students, have been facing a severe crackdown since the disputed election two years ago. The level of repression has not eased, even up to now. This is why we are currently seeing human rights activists, students and lawyers fleeing the country.’‘
Euronews: ‘‘Iran has the second highest execution rate in world. Tehran says they are carried out according to the country’s law and in accordance with the Islamic Penal Code. What do you think about this?’‘
Drewery Dyke: ‘‘It might be in accordance with domestic legislation, however they have an international obligation under international conventions they are signatory to. They don’t even observe their own domestic law when it comes to the execution of juvenile offenders. Another example is legal proceedings for fair trials are constantly ignored and breached. Unfortunately, they do not even comply with their own laws regarding the death penalty.’‘
Euronews: ‘‘NGOs including yours have no executive power, which is arguably problematic. What is your solution for this? For example, what do you expect from more powerful international institutions such as the UN to empower organisations like yours?’‘
Drewery Dyke: ‘‘To uphold and promote human rights we are looking to the people and nations who are struggling for freedom and human rights, rather than elsewhere. If a nation is really trying to abolish the death penalty from within, that country will achieve it sooner or later.’‘