WASHINGTON – Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Ranking Republican Member Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) were named today the 2009 Defenders of Freedom by the Council for a Democratic Iran for their work on behalf of human rights worldwide.
“We must stand with the people of Iran as they struggle for their rights,” Co-Chairman Hastings said. “We must show solidarity with those who continue to pay the price with incarceration, beatings, and no due process of law. And we must remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom and democracy.”
“How we respond to pro-democracy Iranians will remind the world who we are and what we value,” Senator Brownback said. “As citizens of America and as part of the world community, we must seize this moment and help the Iranian people in pursuing their basic and universal human rights. I look forward to continuing to encourage a necessary and vital dialogue on this issue.”
The Helsinki Commission recently held a hearing on the impact of Iran’s elections on neighbors throughout the region – including several countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
“Those brave individuals who took to the streets of Tehran sent a message to the international community that they seek change from the repression that has been inflicted upon them,” Co-Chairman Hastings said. “We cannot support electoral fraud, we cannot turn a blind eye to human rights violations against innocent Iranians, and we cannot permit civil liberties and political rights to be confiscated.”
The Council for a Democratic Iran was created in 2008 to raise global awareness about the absence of democracy and human rights in Iran and to connect people of Iran with the international community.