Iran, while it may be one of the more progressive countries in the Middle East, still has many issues regarding human rights. Iranians were hoping for a change in human rights with the 2013 election of moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, but little progress has been made.
The most prominent issues regarding human rights in Iran are particularly over repressions by government officials as well as executions. Most of the executions are related to drug offenses. The number of executions was projected to decrease in 2016, but human rights groups, however, report that the number might be as high as 437, with most executions taking place in the second half of the year. While most executions are drug related, the extent of crimes that can be punishable by death is rather absurd. For example, adultery and homosexual acts can get people, especially women, killed. It should be noted that Iranian law is inherently biased and more brutal towards women.
This video displays the mistreatment of women political prisoners in Iran.
Iranians are also restricted with their speech. Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter that Americans use so freely, are blocked in Iran. In June of 2016, the country began implementing a political crime law which, while a step forward in granting fair trials, could still limit free speech. According to the law, insulting or defaming public officials, when “committed to achieve reforms and not intended to target the system, are considered political crimes.
Women are oppressed and are denied rights when it comes to travel, working and many other aspects of daily life. Iranian women are treated as second-class citizens, but authorities choose to ignore that women cannot enter stadiums and that there are gender barriers in the market.
Environmentally, the Iranians are destroying their own people due to the extent of their pollution issues. According to city officials, some 270 people die each day from blood cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, and other pollution-related illnesses. The government needs to implement strict environmental regulations to make a drastic improvement in air quality, especially in the capital city of Tehran. The Iranian people have a right to have a safe, clean place to live and right now a majority of cities are not reaching these standards. Iran has recently made progress by restricting gasoline imports, however, there has been a massive increase in use of automobiles in recent years which increases pollution.
Climate Change and Human Rights
Climate change affects the way people can live their lives and the way governments can function. Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey’s TED Talk emphasizes the importance of connecting our deep-rooted traditions to our environment and the value we get from it. Earth is our home today and has been home to our ancestors hundreds of years ago, too. So, why destroy it? Why destroy the history of the human race by the search for the latest development, or to make the most money?
Islands will disappear if we do not reduce our carbon emissions, and gone with them will be the homes of people as well as the history of the lineages of the many families who resided there for decades. However, in the Western world, we tend to only focus on our own individual lives and the direct impact things like climate change have on our daily lives. We are very ethnocentric people.
Faris Noor’s paper on going beyond eurocentrism emphasizes on a general acceptance of other cultures from the Western world. Noor states that there are two alternatives for Europe. One is to “try to retain it’s socio-political and cultural leadership” and th other is “coming to terms with its existence in a multi centered world.” It is not a secret that Europe and North America are losing its dominance as the only superpowers in the world, especially with the rise of China.
Noor believes that cultures, instead of trying to adapt to Western ways for modernization and development, should instead solve their own problems by turning to their own cultures.
Westerners need to accept that today’s world is fragmented and there are many powers in the world, not just contained in Europe. With that acceptance, a mutual respect of other cultures should follow.