Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations Zahra Ershadi delivered a speech at the 21st session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on Thursday.
“Indigenous peoples around the world continue to suffer severely from the historical legacy of colonization on their lands. They are discriminated against because of their different cultures, identities and ways of life and are disproportionately affected by poverty and exclusion. The greatest threats to human rights come from hypocrisy, politicization and double standards. It is very ironic that those whose human rights record is in tatters still lose face and cover up the crimes of others. Canada and the United States are the usual suspects when the media breaks news of human rights abuses, particularly the rights of indigenous peoples and people of African descent,” she said.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran expresses concern over the Canadian authorities’ history of discrimination against Indigenous Peoples in Canada, which has seen them secretly killed and buried, stripped of their lands and eradicated of their culture. These facts were well documented in the study of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples presented to the 48th session of the Human Rights Council last September,” the Iranian envoy added.
“The international community as a whole has expressed extreme shock at the revealing discovery of hundreds of bodies of indigenous peoples, including children, at the sites of several former boarding schools in Canada, which clearly reflects Canada’s past role in the attempted cultural genocide of indigenous peoples. Furthermore, according to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues report on violence against Indigenous children, poverty among Indigenous children in Canada is 69 percent, compared to 13 percent for children in general,” she lamented.
“It is unfortunate that the world we live in today is being disrupted by rogue actors who not only exert maximum pressure on sovereign governments by implying unilateral coercive measures, but also on their OWN Native American and African American citizens by their rights deprive inalienable rights. Structural racism in the United States’ law enforcement and judicial system has led the world community to worry about the fate of Indigenous communities. In this country, indigenous children have been forced to move to boarding schools far from their families, where they have been made to feel that their way of life is “primitive” or “sinful,” Ershadi added.
“In conclusion, the Islamic Republic of Iran reiterates that the rights of indigenous peoples must be respected, in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and reiterates that such atrocities against indigenous peoples and the responsibility their perpetrators should never be forgotten, nor should the realization of justice be ignored,” she concluded.