IRAN: Iran Refuses Special Rapporteur

Monday, July 25, 2011
Western Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights

The Iranian government has announced it will not allow a United Nations special rapporteur into the country. The head of Iran's Human Rights Council, Mohammad Javad Larijani, called the appointment of a UN special rapporteur on human rights for Iran "an illegal measure."

Ahmed Shaheed, a former Maldivian foreign affairs minister, was appointed to the position in June, after the UN Human Rights Council voted in March to establish a special rapporteur to investigate and report on escalating human rights abuses in Iran.

Those abuses persist.

With little or no regard for due process under the law or its international commitments to human rights, the Iranian government is continuing to execute people at an alarming rate. According to Amnesty International, the Iranian government has acknowledged the execution of 190 people from January 2011 through the end of June. At least 130 other people have also been reported to have been executed. Ethnic minorities in Iran have been particularly targeted.

Hundreds of political dissidents continue to languish in prisons known for deplorable conditions. A group of six prisoners of conscience held in Rajaei-Shahr prison recently wrote to Mr. Shaheed asking that he visit the prisons in the Islamic Republic "to become aware of the depth of the inflicted cruelty in [the] country." The six complained of "sham trials," "severe psychological and physical pressures," "brutal" and "inhumane" treatment.

Security forces recently detained three members of Iran's film community on unspecified charges: Iranian actress and film maker Marzieh Vafamehr; actress, documentary filmmaker and women's rights activist Mahnaz Mohammadi; and actress and outspoken supporter of Iran's opposition movement, Pegah Ahangarani.

In June, photojournalist Maryam Majd was arrested on her way to Germany for the Women's Soccer World Cup; she spent almost a month in Evin prison before being released on bail.

There is an additional reason why the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to appoint a Special Rapporteur for Iran. Iran has failed to comply with repeated requests by multiple special rapporteurs to visit and conduct credible and independent investigations on human rights abuses. Since 2005, Iran has allowed no visits by UN human rights mechanisms who could provide a spotlight on the abuse being visited on the Iranian people. The United States calls on Tehran to live up to its international commitments for human rights and fully comply with all UN special mechanisms.