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In a letter addressed to the United Nations, 34 nongovernmental organizations from around the world have urged General Assembly member states to actively support human rights in Iran, pressure it to stop persecuting its own citizens, and end the pattern of abuse and non-cooperation.

Specifically, the NGOs urged the assembly to support a resolution that will keep Iran’s human rights record under scrutiny, according to Amnesty International official Raha Bahreini.

“The human rights situation has regretfully shown no improvement during the past year,” she told Radio Farda’s Roya Karimi Majd in an interview. “The letter specifically refers to the high number of executions, widespread discrimination against women and minorities, and arbitrary detentions, as well as the fact that Iran still refuses to issue visas for UN special rapporteurs to assess the situation.”

Speaking of the tangible impact of human rights resolutions on Iran, Bahreini explained, “Though such resolutions are legally nonbinding, Iranian officials can feel ashamed at international forums. That’s why they are heavily invested in convincing the UN that the human rights situation in Iran should not be a case for concern.”

Amnesty International official, Raha Bahreini
Amnesty International official, Raha Bahreini

Meanwhile, the NGOs’ letter, dated November 7, says, “By voting in favor of this resolution, the UN General Assembly will send a strong signal to the Iranian authorities that the international community looks to see genuine human rights improvements in the country in line with Iran’s treaty obligations and voluntary pledges.”

The letter also insists that Iran’s human rights record has shown no improvement during Hassan Rouhani’s presidency. “By the end of Hassan Rouhani’s first term as president, expectations that his government would enact human rights reforms have not yet materialized,” it continues. “Hassan Rouhani’s recent re-election now reinforces the Iranian authorities’ responsibility to deliver on his electoral promises and take action on long-awaited human rights reforms.”

Referring to cases of human rights violation, the letter notes, “The Iranian authorities have also continued to arbitrarily detain hundreds of human rights defenders including minority activists, environmental rights activists, trade unionists, as well as journalists, political figures, online media workers for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and religion or belief.”

The NGOs also averred that the high number of executions in Iran is a matter of concern, saying, “Indeed, Iran remains among the top executioners in the world and has executed at least 440 people since the start of 2017.”

Furthermore, it has highlighted the fact that “in the past year, Iran has failed to seize opportunities to cooperate meaningfully with UN human rights mechanisms in order to address these challenges. The country has continued to deny independent monitoring from key human rights experts.”

Insisting on the necessity of passing the resolution to keep Iran’s human rights record under UN supervision, the signatories reiterate, “By voting in favor of this resolution, the UN General Assembly will send a strong signal to the Iranian authorities that the international community looks to see genuine human rights improvements in the country in line with Iran’s treaty obligations and voluntary pledges.”

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