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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2010) . . Page.. 5884 ..

The major award of the year went to Canberra cellist David Pereira. David was described as “inspiring” by the special guest presenter, Sydney Theatre director, Ian Sinclair, as he presented him with a cheque from CityNews to the value of $1,000. In addition, he received a glass artwork which was presented by David Williams on behalf of the Canberra Glassworks. It was a glass paperweight crafted by Benjamin Edols.

I want to congratulate all members of the Canberra Critics Circle this year, Anne-Maree Britton, Margaret Pierce-Jolley, Samara Purnell, Jennifer Gall, Helen Musa, Ian McLean, Clinton White, Bill Stephens, Stella Wilkie, Malcolm Miller, Glenn Burns, Alanna Maclean, Joe Woodward, Wendy Brazil, Frank McKone, Peter Wilkins, Kerry-Anne Cousins, David Broker, Yolande Norris, Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak, Diana Kostyrko, Annika Harding, Meredith Hinchliffe, Gia Metherell and Cris Kennedy.

I particularly want to pay tribute to Ian Meikle and CityNews for their sponsorship of the Canberra Critics Circle and for their commitment to ongoing sponsorship of the Canberra Critics Circle. I commend the circle for their work and look forward to next year’s criticisms.

Human rights—Iran

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (5.12): I would just like to speak briefly on the Association to Defend Freedom and Human Rights in Iran, which is an Australian organisation working to advocate for and assist people in Iran who are being persecuted in their country, whether that be due to their political or religious beliefs or for other reasons. They recently had a display in Civic and I met with a representative of the association.

The UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee has expressed deep concern about Iran’s use of practices such as stoning and public hangings. A resolution by the committee noted continued “torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” as well as “the continuing high incidence and dramatic increase in the carrying out of the death penalty in the absence of internationally recognised safeguards, including public executions”. The UN committee expressed particular concern at the Iranian government’s failure to conduct a comprehensive investigation into alleged human rights violations after the 12 June 2009 presidential elections.

The most recent campaign of the Association to Defend Freedom and Human Rights in Iran is to raise awareness of human rights issues for Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf in Iraq. Camp Ashraf is home to 3,400 members of the Iranian opposition who have been subject to harsh conditions and restrictions for the past two years under the Iraqi forces. These conditions and restrictions include preventing access to medical services.

One such person who has had medical treatment prevented is Elham Fardipour, aged 44, who is suffering from thyroid cancer. She was not allowed to transfer to a hospital in Baghdad for urgent treatment, endangering her life. Many other ill and terminally ill people in Ashraf are facing a similar ordeal.

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