HRW: Iran Human Rights Crisis Requires International Scrutiny
Iran: Human Rights Crisis Requires International Scrutiny
(New York, October 28, 2010) – Human Rights Watch and a number of other international and Iranian groups have issued the following statement seeking action by the United Nations General Assembly in light of the human rights crisis that continues to unfold in Iran:In the light of the severity of the human rights situation in Iran, the Iranian authorities’ refusal to cooperate with existing international human rights mechanisms, and their rejection of many specific recommendations from member states under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the Human Rights Council, Amnesty International, Democracy Coalition Project, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, and the International Federation for Human Rights and its affiliate, the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights, call on the United Nations General Assembly to:
· request the UN Secretary-General to issue a more comprehensive report on the human rights situation in Iran;
· request the Secretary-General to report periodically to the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Iran;
· urge the UN special procedures mandates to report periodically to the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Iran;
· and appoint a special envoy of the Secretary-General with a mandate to investigate and report on the human rights situation in Iran.
The mass human rights violations that unfolded in Iran after the disputed presidential election of 2009 were a reminder of the precarious nature of fundamental freedoms in the country. The authorities imposed severe additional restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Peaceful demonstrations were banned and protestors beaten, arbitrarily arrested, and in some cases shot. Scores were killed, both in the streets and in custody.The Iranian authorities subsequently tried hundreds unfairly, including in mass “show trials”, the main aim of which appeared to be to validate their version of events and identify scapegoats. In January 2010, two men convicted after “show trials” were executed for their involvement in demonstrations, despite their having been in custody since before the election. At least seven men and one woman remain on death row for alleged offences related to the election and its aftermath, while others have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 15 years after conviction of vaguely worded “offences” relating to “national security. ” Their trials make a mockery of justice.The trials typically take place after defendants have been held for long periods of detention – often in solitary confinement or incommunicado detention – in centers where torture and other ill-treatment are common. Poor prison conditions, including denial of adequate medical care, have also been used to bring further pressure to bear on those held and their families.