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Aug 30, 2007 Commentary: Pegah Emambakhsh and The New Frontiers of Human Rights
By Roberto Malini

The widespread international campaign to save Pegah Emambakhsh’s life, which has involved governmental institutions, human rights organizations, GLBT activist groups, intellectuals, experts in international law and millions of people who have come to love Pegah, has succeeded in achieving a positive outcome. Pegah is now serene, she is being assisted by a top legal office, by the “Friends of Pegah Campaign” association (which the EveryOne Group is proud to be part of) and has obtained the guarantee that her case will undergo an objective reassessment. The meeting between the lawyers and the magistrate was extremely positive and satisfactory.

Pegah’s face and her moving story has travelled the world and brought about a new priority: to work all together to ensure that the international law that protects refugees and guarantees asylum to those who are persecuted in their home country is recognised by government and legal institutions, and then adhered to. There are declarations, conventions, documents, appendages, international and local agreements that regulate this delicate subject-matter, but the essential rule is very simple and all the civilized countries have signed it: “If, due to discrimination, a human being risks in his own country becoming the victim of physical or psychological ill-treatment, limitation of the freedom of opinion and expression, torture, imprisonment, capital punishment, he must be protected by the country he has taken refuge in, not be detained in prison and in the shortest time possible granted political asylum”.

So simple, so difficult for those who don’t want to see. Another law that exists, but not as well-known to governments is the following: “Any country that is able to grant freedom and a dignified life to a refugee, must be able to offer that asylum in the event of the refugee being turned down by the first country he or she has applied to.” The legal material on Refugee Status and a Right to Asylum contains thousands of pages, yet it would be so simple just to apply at least these two main principles.

There would be so much less injustice, and so fewer victims! It is now time to reflect and remain calm. Pegah’s case could become a symbol and help all governments to shed light on this delicate priority which is so essential for the safeguarding of human rights. The horrors of history, genocides and holocausts emerge slowly and develop when indifference reigns or when human rights are forgotten or ignored by the authorities. We are all watchdogs of the respect for human rights and each and every one of us – as Mark Twain wrote – is a patriot and represents his own country when it fights for the observance of what one believes is right, even if he is the last person to see where Truth and Justice lie.

If we defend the weak and help our governments not to lose the way of human rights, then we will be patriots, we will be – with pride – representatives of our country and no one, not even kings, not even presidents, can impose ideas on us that are far from Truth and Justice.

Let us now be watchful over the developments in Pegah’s case, but with faith and serenity, because legality and truth have been restored. A relaxed atmosphere will help Pegah’s lawyers and the magistrates carry out their work with conscience. We are sure to receive some good news shortly.

The case of the Iranian woman, whose life and happiness we have taken to heart, will help us to ensure similar cases in Germany, Holland, Japan, Italy and other countries are also treated with justice, according to the human rights laws.

The EveryOne Group will remain in contact with Pegah’s representatives, with the “Friends of Pegah Campaign” association, and contribute to maintaining a calm and constructive climate, supplying information and updating when there is any news. In the meantime, we are already working on other cases that concern the rights of the weakest. Contact us, support us, work alongside us.

We live in a tormented world, where those who are poor, or different, those who suffer are turned away, tortured, eliminated. We are sure that each and every one of you will want to contribute towards changing things.

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