This morning (Thursday October 30), Saghi Ghahraman, director of Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO), met with honourable John Baird, foreign minister of Canada, in a roundtable in Ottawa. The roundtable was held in honour of Dr. Ahmad Shahid, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the conditions of human rights in Iran. Ambassador Andrew Bennet of Canada’s office of Religious Freedom was present, and spoke following Dr. Shahid. Dr. Payam Akhavan moderated the roundtable and spoke in Farsi to address the audience in Iran.
Saghi Ghahraman, representing Iranian LGBT community, emphasized on the problems and the prevalent violations of the rights of members of the LGBT community in Iran and described their unbearable life conditions. Minister John Baird stressed on more effective execution of Canada’s responsibilities in supportt of sexual minorities in this roundtable.
IRQO’s on the ground reporter in Ottawa reports that Saghi Ghahraman addressed the Minister of Foreign Affairs and said “homosexuals in Iran are once oppressed due to being gay and once as men, women, ethnic minorities, or religious minorities, civil activists, etc. We expect Canada to defend them specifically, and straightforward.”
Minister Baird stated in response that they comprehended the issue and that they would intensify the clarity.
This is the first meeting of the director of IRQO with the office of the foreign ministry in this level. Canada has warmly accepted and welcomed a considerable number of Iranian sexual minorities as refugees.
When Iran and Canada stopped their diplomatic relationships in 2012,
Minister John Baird emphasized on his country’s efforts to make Canada a safe country for homosexuals.
It is now the time to take firmer and more effective steps in this regard and the Canadian government is determined as ever to defend Human Rights and gay rights.