Javid Rehman, a British-Pakistani legal scholar has been appointed as U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran.
Rehman first studied in Pakistan and then continued his law studies in Great Britain, where he became professor of law and led the Brunel Law School.
He is an scholar of international and Islamic law and is also considered an expert on terrorism. He has previously worked with the U.N. on issues of protection of minorities and banning torture.
On the last day of its 38th session, the UN Human Rights Council selected Rehman as successor for Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani human rights activist who died at the age of 66 in February, following a cardiac arrest.
The council selected Rehman from among 14 applicants for the position. None of the council members objected to his appointment, reported Radio Farda's Mahtab Vahidi Rad from Geneva.
In June 2011, almost two years after the brutal suppression of protests against the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s President, the UN Human Rights Council established the position of a special rapporteur to monitor the human rights situation in Iran and report to the council. The Maldivian diplomat Ahmed Shahid was the first appointee, followed by Asma Jahangir and now Javid Rehman.
Iran was opposed to the appointment of a special rapporteur from the beginning and has never allowed them to travel to the country. Tehran has been arguing that the human rights situation in Iran is normal and does not need special international attention.
However, the previous rapporteurs have submitted several critical reports on systematic human rights violations by the Iranian regime.
Three years after the election of the relatively moderate politician Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s President, who promised more social and political freedom in his election campaign, Jahangir wrote in her report in March 2017: “The Special Rapporteur regrets that the information she received did not reveal any notable improvement in the situation of human rights in the country.”
“The situation relating to independence of judges and lawyers, freedom of expression and use of arbitrary detention continues to be a matter of serious concern", she added.
Jahangir said that “profound legal and structural changes are required for any significant improvement of the human rights situation to take place” in Iran.
Iran always denounced the special rapporteur’s reports as “biased”, “falsified” and “full of errors”. In April 2017, Iranian state media even accused Jahangir of receiving bribes from Saudi Arabia to make reports against Iran.
Jahangir denied the accusations vehemently and said “I am appalled by this fabricated and malicious news story which is clearly aimed at compromising my integrity and independence, both of which are recognized internationally.”