The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Amnesty hosts Human Rights Forum

Students gathered Wednesday for “Denounce Torture,” a forum on human rights presented by the SMU chapter of Amnesty International, a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights. Dr. Rick Halperin, a professor and advisor to SMU’s Amnesty International group, as well as the Chair of Amenesty’s United States Board of Directors, began the forum.

“Every single country in the world violates human rights,” Halperin said. “The U.S. is a major human rights violator.”

Halperin stated that most crimes are committed against students and that human rights problems affect everyone. He also said that two out of every three countries in the world tortures routinely.

“You have to be involved,” Halperin encouraged students. “It’s your job as a human being.” Halperin emphasized his belief that the only failure is the failure to do nothing.

Saeed Tarokh, who was abused for advocating free speech, shared his experiences passing out fliers as a student at Azad University in Iran. Tarokh eventually fled to the United States and was detained in the Denton country jail for four and a half months, Through all his experiences, Tarokh said he has become even more steadfast in his pursuits of human rights and hopes to become a lawyer.

“I want freedom to be in my country,” Tarokh said.

Hossien Namdar, an Iranian-American living in the states since 1974 who helped Tarokh get out of the Denton jail, spoke next.

“Human rights violations are everywhere, but democracy has power to make change,” Namdar said.

Namdar added that Iran has struggled for democracy for 100 years. He said Iranian people have suspensions about the international community.

A question and answer session followed the speakers. One student asked what someone could do to help others gain human rights. Namdar suggested that students write letters to their congressmen and administration and state their positions on human rights issues.

Whether for better or worse, the United States occupies a unique role in the world, Dr. Halperin stated. He added that the record of the United States’ humans rights is “pathetic” and it hurts our entire movement.

Dr. Halperin also stated his belief that human rights is in its infant stages.

Namdar said he supports non-violent human rights movements and that violence will not solve the problem.

Dr. Halperin said that Amnesty International does not call for one action over another and that it is the end result that matters.

 

 

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