December 14, 2005

PROPOSING “THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRISONERS’ RIGHTS” ON ‎RECEIVING AWARD FROM THE‎ NATIONAL CONSULTATIVE ‎COMMISSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN FRANCE

Mr Prime Minister,‎
Mr Secretary and the Respectable Members of National Consultative ‎Commission of Human Rights ‎
Ladies and Gentlemen,‎
On behalf of the Society for Defending Prisoners' Rights and myself I would ‎like to express my gratitude and honour for receiving National Consultative ‎Commission of Human Rights' award. I do hope that through expanding our ‎activities and cooperation we prove to deserve your goodwill and respect.‎
Since I was released from the prison three years ago I set two tasks for myself ‎to be fulfilled in the coming years. The first was to establish the Society for ‎Defending Prisoners' Rights, which was accomplished with the help and ‎sincere aid of several socio-political activists, journalists and legal ‎practitioners. This society deals with the cases and issues of all prisoners ‎regardless of their charges and terms of sentences, whether they are political ‎or apolitical prisoners. We have succeeded significantly in this relatively short ‎period of our activity and therefore I believe we are prepared to tackle our ‎next objective, which is to institute an association to combat capital ‎punishment and death penalty. This association, named Defenders of the ‎Right to Life, has gathered several scholars, social and legal figures together ‎and has already taken initial steps, hoping to see noticeable achievements in ‎near future.‎
A Proposal for Establishing “The International Day of Prisoners’ Rights” ‎

I would also like to take this opportunity and put forward an idea, which I ‎believe would draw attentions to prisoners' rights and would be an effectual ‎course of action in promoting human rights. ‎
There are currently various national and international days and occasions to ‎memorialize issues such as Human Rights, Freedom of the Press, combating ‎HIV/AIDS and supporting their victims, etc. Nevertheless there is no such ‎commemoration for prisoners. Prisons and prisoners are the issues that have ‎much older history than many other problems and concerns. In all societies, ‎prisons and prisoners and how they are being dealt with are among the major ‎human rights' issues. The way prisoners are conducted is a clear indicator of ‎observance and/or violation of human rights.‎

Dedicating a special day to prisoners’ rights would have the following ‎advantages:‎

‎1.‎ Raising public awareness on the issue of prisoners’ rights through the media ‎on a specific day at a global scale. Experience shows that institutions and ‎media working on a special theme are able to mobilize resources much ‎further on a specific day named after their cause.‎
‎2.‎ Awards can be donated to books, artistic products, institutions and NGOs ‎reflecting on the subject of prisoners' rights.‎
‎3.‎ Attentions could be focused on the prison staffs and guards, as the people ‎who are in direct contact with prisoners, on this day. Simply punishing and ‎rebuking prison staff would by no means encourage them to observe ‎prisoners’ rights. Furthermore, promoting the concepts of human rights and ‎prisoners’ rights could not do the trick on its own. Prison staff should be ‎highlighted on that day as the most influential and prime agent in fulfilling ‎the rights of prisoners through encouragements. Accordingly, the prison staff ‎members who are reported by prisoners and human rights institutions and ‎individuals as those having worked appropriately to observe prisoners’ rights ‎and promote human dignity can be awarded on the International Day for ‎Prisoners’ Rights.‎
National Consultative Commission of Human Rights and the French ‎government can propose this idea at an international level. I myself suggest ‎‎5th of March as on this day in 1897 one the most prominent social and political ‎activists and one of the first supporters of human rights in its modern sense in ‎the region, Seyed Jamalodin Assadabadi, was killed in the Ottoman prison, ‎deprived of all his legal and human rights.‎
Once again I appreciate all your efforts and concerns and hope that this ‎occasion and award would pave the way for more fruitful actions and ‎endeavors in respecting the rights and dignities of all the human beings ‎throughout the world.‎
Emadedin Baghi




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