Foreign affairs minister condemns death of Mahsa Amini and state crackdown on protests in Iran
Canada’s foreign affairs minister is condemning the death of Mahsa Amini in Iranian police custody and the ensuing state crackdown on civilian protests.
“Her death was a direct result of the systemic and continued harassment and repression of women by Iran,” Melanie Joly said in a media statement released Friday.
The 22-year-old Amini died last week following her arrest by Iran’s morality police for “unsuitable attire” after she allegedly wore a hijab improperly. Her death unleashed a nationwide flood of protests over human rights, security and an economy reeling from international sanctions.
Iranian cities including Tehran and Sardasht saw crowds of protesters running through the streets and lighting fires in response to the death of Mahsa Amini while she was in police custody, after being arrested for ‘unsuitable attire.’
Women have played a prominent role in the demonstrations. Some have been publicly burning their veils and cutting their hair in a direct challenge to clerical leaders.
Protesters across Iran continued to clash violently with security forces early Friday. Iranian state TV suggested the death toll from the unrest could be as high as 26, without offering details.
“We call on Iran to stop escalating tensions and to refrain from committing further acts of violence against its own population,” Joly’s statement said. “We urge Iran to meaningfully address the grievances of all of its citizens without discrimination and to protect their right to peaceful protest.”
Earlier this week, Joly said Ottawa was following the protests closely and called for “a full and complete investigation into the regime’s actions” in relation to Amini’s death.
Other Western governments, such as the U.S. and France, condemned Amini’s death earlier this week.
“Mahsa Amini should be alive today,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday. “We call on the Iranian government to end its systemic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protest.”
Conservative deputy leader Melissa Lantsman critiqued Joly’s statement, saying Canada’s response to Iran “requires more than words.”
“Canada should see the countless cases of brutality against the women of Iran and the violent crackdown on basic human rights and freedoms as a call to finally list [Iran’s Revolutionary Guard] as a terrorist organization,” Lantsman said in a media statement.
On Thursday, Iranian authorities warned that protests over Amini’s death would have consequences. The Revolutionary Guard called on the judiciary to prosecute “those who spread false news and rumours” in an apparent bid to quash the demonstrations.
Shadi Sadr, human rights lawyer and executive director of Justice for Iran joins The Rundown to discuss calls from the UN high commissioner for human rights for an independent investigation into the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died last week after being apprehended by morality police.
On Tuesday, a top United Nations official demanded an independent investigation of Amini’s death.
“Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and allegations of torture and ill treatment must be promptly, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent, competent authority,” said Nada al-Nashif, the acting UN high commissioner for human rights.
NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson said the government needs to support the UN’s call for an investigation and support Iranians seeking asylum in Canada.
“Gender-based violence continues to be a reality for many women and girls and the NDP is committed to pushing the government to provide concrete support women’s rights in Iran,” McPherson said in a media statement.
This article was first reported by CBC News