Rowhani passes bill of rights in a country marred by violations

President Hassan Rowhani signs the document of Iran's Charter of Citizenship Rights. (AP)

Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani unveiled a landmark bill of rights today, guaranteeing freedom of speech, protest, fair trials and privacy, saying the achievement was “one of my oldest dreams” despite Iran being considered one of the biggest human rights violator with an unprecedented number of executions in the past three decades.

Although many of the rights are already enshrined in Iran’s constitution written after the 1979 Islamic revolution, Rouhani said it offered the first clear list of principles that could be used to check the performance of state institutions.

“I’m very pleased that today one of my most important promises is being delivered and I am achieving one of my oldest dreams,” Rowhani told officials in a televised ceremony.

Rouhani said the bill was not yet a formal law, but “must be implemented by everyone”.

However, Western rights groups and governments accuse Iran of wholesale violations, including arbitrary detention without trial, violent suppression of dissent, and restrictions on the press and free speech.

Conservatives were quick to criticize the charter, saying it was the work of a reformist minority rather than the wider Iranian public.

“These days as people wait impatiently for the delivery of economic openings (linked to) the nuclear deal... the government in its last months has remembered the rights of people. It’s a joke,” said Osulgara News, a popular conservative social media channel.

The bill was criticized by many Iranian activists, who believe this is a propaganda stunt for the upcoming elections to raise Rouhani’s popularity and to cover up the economic, social and political issues in the country.

According to official Iranian reports, that the number of unemployed is significantly high and mostly university graduates.

In terms of the number of execution, Iran is ranked second globally for the most executions in a country, under Rowhani’s rule.

(With AP)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49