Iranian Delegate Responds Angrily Without Addressing Report’s Content
UN Independent Expert Ahmed Shaheed on Iran calls for cooperation from
the government to ensure transparency.
(Reporting from Geneva and New York)-Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, presented his annual report today before the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Countries both in favor of and against the report, as well as Iran’s representative, asked questions and expressed their opinions about its contents, the Council’s future plans, and the Rapporteur’s mandate. One of the dramatic points of the meeting occurred when the head of Iran’s Human Rights Council, Mohammad Javad Larijani, displayed anger and used language that compelled the chair of the meeting to interrupt him.
This week, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran released a new report for the diplomatic community detailing Iran’s non-cooperation with UN human rights bodies. The report, “Monitoring Iran: One Year into the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran,” sets forth the Iranian government’s failure to adhere to international human rights standards and defiance of UN recommendations since the creation of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate in March 2011.
The level of support for the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and the interest in the points he raised in his report have increased the probability of an extension of his mandate for an additional year. Diplomatic sources in Geneva told the Campaign that it is very likely that the Special Rapporteur’s mandate will be extended for another year.
Shaheed presented his report to the Human Rights Council at a time when Iran’s government media have been conducting an organized attack campaign against him: in recent days, they have been presenting false information to question his mission without regard for the contents of his report. For example, on Saturday, Iranian government newspapers and national news agencies claimed that Shaheed’s report was written “without regard for the 300-page documented and detailed report by the Islamic Republic.” However, such a report was never submitted to him, as the Islamic Republic has had the Rapporteur’s report since early January 2012 but has not provided any substantive reactions-written or otherwise-to its content. Today, the Iranian delegation handed the Rapporteur a short document which they claim addresses his report.
In his talk, Shaheed referred to the Iranian government’s lack of cooperation and lack of response to the issues listed in his report. He also stated that no dialogue has taken place around this lack of cooperation, pointing out the Iranian authorities’ unwillingness to cooperate with the Rapporteur’s mandate. Though Shaheed had previously referred to interviews with dozens of victims and witnesses of human rights violations, in the face of criticism from the Iranian authorities raised against the accuracy of his claims in the absence of a visit to the country, for the first time Shaheed announced that he had spoken with 163 first-hand witnesses-victims of human rights violations-both outside and inside Iran, and that his conversations confirmed points raised by international human rights organizations and human rights defenders.
He then elaborated on the different sections of his report. He referred to the 18-year prison sentence for Abdolfattah Soltani and the six-year sentence of Narges Mohammadi. Referring to the dramatic increase in the number of executions in Iran, he demanded an immediate moratorium on executions in the country. The Special Rapporteur also welcomed the elimination of stoning from the Islamic Penal Code, but pointed out that such a sentence may still be issued and carried out based on fatvas by judges. He welcomed the release of prisoners of conscience Parastoo Dokouhaki, Marzieh Rassouli, and Sahamoddin Bouraghani, while referring to the cases of others who remain in prison, such as Nasrin Sotoudeh, Bahareh Hedayat, Abdollah Momeni, and Youcef Nadarkhani. Shaheed also asked for the immediate release of political opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.
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