Islamic Republic Must First Allow UN Special Rapporteur to Visit Iran Before Meaningful Cooperation Is Possible

Justice for Iran (JFI), October 24, 2013: On the afternoon of October 23, 2013, Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur, officially presented a summary of his latest report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran to the UN General Assembly’s 3rd Committee. The presentation followed with an official reply from the Islamic Republic of Iran and statements by member countries and unions of the UN.
According to Shaheed, 137 interviews were conducted to make up the information published in his October 2013 report. To date the Islamic Republic of Iran has declared all of Shaheed’s reports as bias, politicized, and “exploited by invalid sources.” Shaheed cites tensions between laws in Iran and the Islamic Republic’s’s international human rights obligations as main causes for the lack of progress.

The UN Special Rapporteur’s report states at least 724 executions were carried out in Iran between January 2012 and June 2013. Moreover, it cites close to 11,000 flagellation sentences, 4000 death-row Afghan prisoners, and ongoing severe human rights abuses and restrictions against journalists, children, women, ethnic and religious minorities, Afghan migrants, and other vulnerable groups.

The report also raises concerns regarding the ongoing impunity with respect to the enforced disappearance, torture and summary execution of individuals between 1980 and 1990 in Iran and the continuous harassment of members of the Mourning Mothers of Laleh Park/Mothers of Khavaran and other victims groups face for seeking their right to truth, justice and reparation. This is the first time that Shaheed has officially addressed the rights of victim family members in his reporting. In its response to Shaheed, the Islamic Republic of Iran declares the claims of the Mourning Mothers as “unfounded” and emphasizes that punishments were carried out according to the law and competent courts. Recently JFI reported on the struggles of the Mothers of Khavaran and announced the appointment of Mostafa Pourmohammadi, a member of the death commission in 1988, as Iran’s Minister of Justice under the presidency of Hassan Rouhani.

This was also the first time that Shaheed reported extensively on the situation of Afghan refugees in Iran and gave this issue its own section in the report. In 2012 JFI released a comprehensive report on the plight of Afghan refugees titled “Iran: An Afghan Free Zone?!” and called on UN Bodies to help stop the Islamic Republic’s campaign against Afghan refugees in Iran.

To date Islamic Republic of Iran authorities have not allowed Ahmed Shaheed or other UN Special Rapporteurs to enter Iran in order to conduct investigations on the human rights violations reports. However, Islamic Republic of Iran officials have invited Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner, for a visit to Iran with high-ranking government officials. JFI reminds the international community that Pillay will not be permitted to conduct or prepare any official investigative report on the situation of political prisoners and the other victims of severe human rights violations in Iran. “It is not possible to have meaningful cooperation between the UN and the Islamic Republic of Iran if the Special Rapporteur is not even allowed to visit the country,” says Shadi Sadr, the Co-founder of Justice for Iran

Justice for Iran welcomes the international community to condemn authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran for their violation of basic human rights and the country’s obligations to signed international conventions and treaties. Furthermore, the international community is urged to continue pressuring the Islamic Republic of Iran to allow Ahmed Shaheed to visit the country.

The full text of the Special Rapporteur’s report and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s response