Letters to the Editor
Readers write about how Iran's reformers could change that country's human rights record, the meaning of ICC action against the president of Sudan, why Europe's stores should stay open later, and why immigrants must adapt to the ways of their new home.
Iran's reformers could usher in respect for human rights
Regarding the Feb. 26 article, "Iran's reformers put hope in 'New Khatami'": It is encouraging to see an opposition candidate who captures the attention of young people and women who want to see significant reforms in Iran. The election of such a candidate could be an opening for the US to pursue peaceful change in Iran, including human rights and religious freedom issues.
The current government of Iran is planning to put seven leaders of the Bahai faith on trial very soon for "espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic Republic" – for which the penalty includes execution. These charges are groundless. The Iranian government is using the charges as an excuse to continue their persecution of Bahais in Iran. Since 1979, over 200 Bahais have been executed in Iran for their religious beliefs and thousands have been imprisoned.
Iran cannot be considered a civilized nation as long as it persecutes, imprisons, and executes its citizens for trumped-up charges. Iran must be held accountable for state-sponsored persecution of its Bahai religious minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.
Meaning of ICC action on Sudan leader
In regard to the March 3 article, "Darfuris flee on eve of Bashir case": The controversy over the indictment of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir only vindicates the Bush administration's position that the setting up of an International Criminal Court (ICC) was premature.
Some of the same people who advocated joining the ICC are now saying that indicting Mr. Bashir would put peace efforts in Darfur at risk of unraveling. This might be true. But a court that is hostage to political considerations is no court at all. Also, the means of enforcing ICC decisions are lacking.
As the International Criminal Court takes a huge step toward resolving conflict in Darfur by releasing an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, the United States is still giving the ICC the cold shoulder. Not only did former President Bush "unsign" for the US in support of the Rome Statute – the treaty that established the ICC and that has been signed by 139 countries – but the US does not even take a seat at the Assembly of State Parties, the governing body of the ICC.
That must change.
Europe needs longer retail hours
In regard to the Feb. 25 article, "Fight grows in Europe to safeguard a secular Sabbath": I support the right of workers to have Sundays off, but feel shops should be open longer in the evenings. Office workers are forced to shop on Saturdays, making it an unpleasant, crowded experience.
Immigrants must adapt
In regard to the March 3 Opinion piece, "The curious case of chastity fraud": When an immigrant comes to a secular country, such as France, where there is a sharp division between religion and government, they should accept the fact that commitment to that country and government include strictly keeping to the secular in public affairs.
This is not a case of human rights, but of human choices. I do not go to Iran because I do not want to cover my hair. I do not think it is an infringement of my human rights that I choose not to challenge their rules. I hope that the European Court of Human Rights can spend more time on the abuses of ethnic cleansing and other problems, rather than this sort of spurious game.
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