Human rights activist Mehrangiz Kar says President Rohani’s proposed Charter of Citizenship Rights is a meaningless document that even contradicts the Constitution in some places.
In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI), Kar, 69, analyzed the draft Charter recently unveiled by Rohani.
“This Charter wants to please the grand ayatollahs, the international human rights organizations, Mr. Khomeini’s supporters, Mr. Khamenehi’s supporters, and Mr. Khamenehi himself. Under such circumstances this charter is a hodge podge of things with no head or tail,” she said.
“It is full of repetition, slogans, and natter. In some parts, it’s the same as the Constitution, in some parts it violates the Constitution; in some parts it’s based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in some other areas it is Mr. Rohani’s personal ideals, and yet in other areas it cites other human rights documents,” said the rights lawyer.
“I don’t think ordinary Iranian people have any particular attachment to this Charter. It’s only political activists outside Iran or a few analysts inside Iran who talk about it. Ordinary people are not vested in this Charter. They know it’s just slogans and they are tired of slogans,” Kar said.
Discussing the contents, Kar said, “In a part of the Charter, it is mentioned: ‘Citizens have the right to enjoy physical and spiritual health.’ There should be a limit to this writing project! To begin with, what is the meaning of spiritual health? How can spiritual health be created for a woman against whom Iranian laws justify violence? How can the spiritual health of an Ithna Ashariya [Twelver] Shiite such as myself, whose family was destroyed without any reason, be created? Why should I and my children enjoy spiritual health at all? How can those who don’t have bread to feed their children enjoy spiritual health?”
She said, “In the Charter it is written that ‘Citizens must enjoy a happy life. But how? At a relative’s birthday party for their child, the police raided the house and the father of the child had a heart attack and died because of the stress he felt. The father of the family was destroyed for a birthday party! Things like this have happened a lot and continue to happen in Iranian society. I was many times at parties in Iran when the police arrived and turned the people’s joy to sadness and worry. I can’t understand what Mr. Rohani’s solution for such things and for guaranteeing happiness is, and what power the government holds to stop the police and other forces who violate a family’ right to happiness.”
Kar left Iran almost a decade ago and now is based at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She is the widow of Siamak Pourzand, a fellow dissident and former prisoner of conscience, who committed suicide April 29, 2011, while imprisoned.