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UN Rapporteur Says Human Rights Suffered More Setbacks In Iran

Javaid Rehman is a British-Pakistani legal scholar and Professor of Islamic Law and International Law at Brunel University and the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. File photo

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran says last year saw increasing restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and continuing violations of the right to life, liberty and a fair trial in the Islamic Republic, including 253 reported executions of adults and children.

Javaid Rehman who was appointed more than a year ago said in a report to the General Assembly circulated on August 16 that while executions were the lowest since 2007, "the number of executions remains one of the highest in the world."

He says the significant decline is attributed to enforcement of a 2017 amendment to Iran's anti-narcotics law that saw the number of executions for drug-related offenses drop from 231 in 2017 to at least 24 in 2018.

Rehman says seven child offenders were reported executed in 2018.

The UN Human Rights Council established the position of a special rapporteur in 2011 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 of Pakistan and now Javaid Rehman.

Rehman is an scholar of international and Islamic law in Britain 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.

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 reports by all three rapporteurs have been critical revealing systematic human rights violations by the Islamic Republic.

Reporting with AP