Iran and Human Rights

Tuesday, April 13, 1999 - 19:30 - 21:30


After instituting various pro-western modernization policies, the Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979 and replaced by a strict theocratic regime. The overwhelming majority of Iranians voted in favour of establishing an Islamist Republic in a national referendum in April the same year. The legitimacy of the referendum has been hotly contested regarding the lack of privacy at voting stations and the single option presented on the ballot. Ayatollah Khomeini became the new spiritual leader of Iran and quickly instated a multitude of strict societal regulations, notably the female dress code. 

In 1997 the Iranian people elected Mohammad Khatami president whose more reformist stance rested on democratization and reduced censorship.


In April 1999, 20 years after the Islamic Republic was established in Iran, Alternatives and La Ligue des droits et libertés held a conference to assess the state of human rights in Iran at the time. Houchang Hassan-Yari, a political science professor of Iranian origin at the Kingston Royal Military College provided a historical overview of the Revolution. The second guest speaker, Ginette Lamarche, a journalist and host for Radio-Canada, shared her experiences and observations from her visit to Tehran earlier that year. The presentations were followed by an open-floor discussion of the human rights situation in Iran.

Allies: Université Laval; Radio Basse-Ville; La Fondation Léo-Cormier; Le Ministère des Relations internationales; Institut québécois des hautes-études internationales