Press Release by National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
Washington, DC - The National Iranian American Council calls on President Obama to support the establishment of a UN human rights monitor on Iran at the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly to report on violations taking place inside the country.
"It is critical that the Obama Administration work with governments around the world to confront the Iranian human rights crisis by supporting the appointment of a UN human rights monitor on Iran," said Jamal Abdi, NIAC Policy Director. "International efforts to stem abuses in Iran have proven inadequate as Tehran continues to flout its basic international and domestic legal obligations. In the absence of active US support for a human rights monitor, the Iranian government will continue its campaign of repression with impunity as the world looks on."
The Obama Administration joined the UN Human Rights Council in June 2009. Since then, the Council has taken no concrete actions regarding Iran's human rights crisis and the UN has taken no special steps to address the continued abuses by Iran's government.
Calls by NIAC and numerous human rights organizations for the Obama Administration to effectively address Iran's human rights situation during the most recent Council session went unheeded. Instead, the Obama Administration focused primarily on obtaining sanctions on Iran, which included no human rights component.
Beginning in 1984, and continuing until 2002, the UN mandated a special representative on human rights for Iran through the Commission on Human Rights. Over this period, Iran's human rights record improved moderately. However, since the mandate expired, the situation has deteriorated significantly, culminating in the June 12, 2009, elections and subsequent government crackdown that continues to this day.
NIAC reiterates its call for the Iranian government to cease its campaign of intimidation, release all prisoners of conscience, and provide fair trials for all detainees. Shiva Nazar Ahari, an Iranian human rights activist, was put on trial this past Saturday on charges that included the capital offense of moharbeh, "enmity towards God". On the same day, Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, was arrested and now faces charges of propaganda and "collusion and gathering with the aim of acting against national security." Recent reports also suggest that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was sentenced to death by stoning but whose fate now is unclear following an international outcry, has been subjected to lashings and mock hangings while in continued detention. And three American hikers continue to be detained at Evin prison with no formal charges having been brought against them.
"The Obama Administration committed to joining the Human Rights Council last year expressly to deal with situations like the one we are witnessing in Iran," said Abdi. "Now that commitment is being tested. It is imperative that the Administration work at the UNGA to ensure a human rights monitor on Iran is appointed immediately."
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