Press TV has conducted an interview with Massoud Shadjareh, from the Islamic Human Rights Commission, in Tehran, about an enlightening speech on human rights made by Mohammad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: First of all tell us what Mr. Zarif means when he says about double standards on human rights issues. Can you be more explicit about what he means there in terms of instances?
Shadjareh: Absolutely. I think it was an amazing statement and very timely because human rights has become unfortunately another tool in the hands of politicians and governments to actually use and abuse against the reality of human rights of individuals.
It’s not just something that has come out after 9/11. Even before that if you look at what happened in Iraq where half a million people died as a result of sanctions. These were ordinary innocent civilians, half a million children – ordinary innocent children.
And when Madeleine Albright was challenged is this justifiable for removing Saddam Hussein? She said, absolutely. This is actually the ideology of terrorism.
We see it over and over. At a time a few months ago and six months ago we saw even in Iran there were people finding difficulty to get access to certain medicine. And those medicines from companies in the West were denying the ordinary people to have access to them and the result was a report, which we showed that almost half million people were in danger of losing their lives.
We see the same thing taking place in Syria and elsewhere and this tool, this really barbaric tool, should not be used by any nation and indeed those who use this tool should be brought to international court.
I think it’s essential that we say that certain aspects of ordinary people’s lives needs to be out of bounds by politicians to politic and destroy their lives – and actually commit genocide.
Press TV: You referred there to the case of international law. Mr. Zarif was also saying to deny people food and medicine should be considered a violation of international law.
But where can people look for solace and for justice because these decisions for instance for sanctions to be imposed on various nations and made at the United Nations and United Nations Security Council, if decisions are made there, where does that people who want justice – for doing nothing they’re facing this amount of pressure?
Shadjareh: Absolutely. Unfortunately the structures currently in place are failing us. International structures like the UN, international courts... They’re all failing us because it actually gives ability to certain powers and super-powers to abuse.
And only the people who are taken to court in the international court are people from Africa. No one in the West for committing all these atrocities in Abu Ghraib or in Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else is being suggested to be taken to court.
We need to change that. We need to sort of de-colonize the international law and then also we need to de-colonize the United Nations.
United Nations with its structures of Security Council and permanent members and the veto, it is in reality a tool of colonial powers and we need to change that.
And the way to do it, I should welcome what Mr. Zarif has said and indeed we need to get other politicians to come forward and we start a debate and move towards a change.