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Irish Senate Leader Lisa Chambers: Change is Coming to Iran

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The Free Iran World Summit 2023 hosted many delegations from parliaments around the world. The event was held on July 1 at the headquarters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Auver-sur-Oise, on the outskirts of Paris. One of these parliamentary delegations was from the Republic of Ireland, headed by the leader of the Irish Senate, Lisa Chambers.

The remarks of the Irish Senate Leader Lisa Chambers follows:

Good afternoon or good evening, everybody. It’s a pleasure to be here today at the Free Iran World Summit here in Paris.

As leader of the Irish Senate and as leader of the Irish delegation I am joined on stage this evening by my colleagues Deputy Pádraig O’Sullivan, Senator Gerry Horkan, former MEP Jim Higgins, and Senators Diarmuid Wilson and Aidan Davitt. And it’s a privilege for us to be here and to be invited to speak at this amazing historic World Summit.

President Rajavi, distinguished guests, friends, colleagues, and parliamentarians from across the world we have an important job to do here today, to highlight the ongoing atrocities and challenges faced by the Iranian people, but really importantly to pledge to do something about it. And we have the platform and the ability to force this change with the Iranian people.

Ireland has been clear in its condemnation of the repression of protests by the Iranian authorities as well as the clear breaches of human rights in the country. We have repeatedly called on the Iranian authorities to respect the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Clearly, those rights are not being respected today in Iran. Our government has raised these concerns directly with the Iranian embassy in Dublin and with officials in Tehran and continues to do that to this day. In 2022 just last year, Ireland co-sponsored the Annual Canadian-led resolution on Iran at the third committee of the UN general assembly. This resolution addressed many of the key issues affecting human rights in Iran.

As a country, we also cosponsored the convening of a special session of the Human Rights Council on 24 November last year which voted to create a fact-finding mission to investigate and report on human rights violations in Iran. The Irish government has been very clear. The executions carried out by the Iranian authorities and the severe sentencing of peaceful protesters is unacceptable and we utterly condemn these actions.

Restrictive measures now apply to over 200 individuals and more than 30 entities in Iran. These include asset freezing, EU travel bans, and a ban on exports to Iran of equipment that could be used to repress the Iranian people. Last year, in October, following the death of Mahsa Amini, I drafted a resolution for the Irish Senate that passed with unanimous support of all members of our house on the issues affecting the Iranian people, in particular, the violations against women and girls.

Some of the key issues addressed in that motion: we condemn the unrelenting and oppressive actions by the Iranian authorities, we support the right to the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly of the Iranian people, we condemn the restrictions on access to the internet which restricts freedom of expression and also freedom of assembly, we condemn the use of force by the Iranian authorities on peaceful protesters and the terrible loss of life of many peaceful protesters and we also remember today Mahsa Amani and the many others who have lost their lives in the struggle for freedom. They have paid the ultimate price.

I want to pay a particular tribute to the inspirational Iranian women who every day sacrifice their well-being and their safety and that of their families in the fight for freedom for Iran.

Many of them have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Today we remember that sacrifice. I feel a particular responsibility as a woman and as a female member of Parliament to continue to raise the plight of Iranian people, in particular women and girls, and to use the platform that I have to advocate for a free and democratic Iran and really importantly to the full and equal participation of Iranian women in every aspect of Iranian life.

As a small island nation in the European Union, we know what it means to fight for a free, democratic Republic because we had to do that ourselves. We want the very same for Iran. And we want to help you achieve what we managed to achieve not that long ago.

No country can reach its full potential if it limits the freedoms and opportunities of half of its population. If you limit the women in your country, you are limiting your country. And the message that I want to deliver today is that every woman and girl should have full participation in Iranian politics, and all aspects of Iranian life. And that’s why we see them leading from the front.

The values that the Irish people hold very dear. We protect vigorously our democracy, the rule of law, and a rule-based system. And we also protect the basic rights of freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and equality for our citizens.

These are the things that I know the Iranian people also hold dear and are fighting every day to achieve. We, therefore, all of us, that have the luxury and the privilege of living in a democracy have a duty to never be silent on the issues affecting the Iranian people. To never turn a blind eye to the atrocities being perpetrated on the Iranian people by the Iranian authorities and use every ounce of power and influence that we have domestically and within the European Union and across the globe to bring about the change that the Iranian people are demanding.

The efforts to suppress the uprising have not been successful and I congratulate you for that effort. That is because the Iranian people have demonstrated incredible bravery, courage, and resilience in resisting any sort of suppression of their right to protest and demonstrate.

In particular, I think you’ll all agree the voices and the actions of the young people of Iran have been particularly impressive. And because they are your future leaders and because they are the future of your country, it gives me great hope to see every day the power and the influence that they exert in their own communities and right across the Iranian countryside.

I want to make it clear today that the majority of members of both the Senate and the Lower House, as illustrated by both of the documents presented here today, are in support of President Rajavi’s democratic plan for Iran, the Ten-Point plan and many members of both houses have signed a very detailed letter regarding the same and have given full support to the objective and the goal of all of us here today to see a free and democratic Iran.

I want to also draw attention to the presence today of our former Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, who will be speaking and addressing the conference shortly. It’s fantastic to see our former leader here with us today.

Finally, I will finish by saying that I truly believe that change is possible, and that change is coming.

And our message here today, as the Irish delegation from both houses of our parliament is that Irish politicians are on your side.

Thank you.