News / Middle East

    UN Cites ‘Systemic Violations’ of Human Rights in Iran

    Ahmed Shaheed (file photo)
    Ahmed Shaheed (file photo)

    The United Nations Special Rapporteur who assesses the human rights situation in Iran warned Wednesday of “a pattern of systemic violations” of the rights of persons in that country. Ahmed Shaheed told the U.N. General Assembly committee that deals with such issues that the violations include a “dramatic increase” in government-ordered public executions; the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities; and the erosion of civil and political rights.

    Ahmed Shaheed told the committee that Iran’s human rights record has attracted a lot of criticism because of a lack of substantive cooperation with the U.N.’s human rights system and frequent reports of suppression of rights in Iran.

    “These include allegations of obstructing free and fair elections, denial of freedom of expression and assembly, allegations of deprivation of the right to education, the harassment and intimidation of religious and ethnic minorities, human rights defenders as well as civil society and religious actors,” Shaheed said.

    The special rapporteur also noted his concerns about the administration of justice and the lack of proper safeguards, the status of women, and the torture and poor treatment of detainees.  But it is the widespread use of the death penalty that attracted his particular concern.

    In his report, Shaheed said Iranian authorities officially announced more than 200 executions so far this year - at least 83 of them in the month of January alone.  He said the majority of death sentences have been handed out in drug-related cases.

    “In about 70 percent of recent cases, these sentences related to drug offenses. And that of course is the issue that we raise - that drug offenses do not constitute a serious crime that would call for [the] death penalty,” Shaheed said.

    In addition to executions, his report details the mistreatment and imprisonment of opposition politicians, journalists, student activists, artists, lawyers and even environmentalists.

    The U.S. representative, John Sammis, expressed Washington’s concern about the treatment of two prominent opposition politicians - Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been under house arrest with their wives since February. He also noted the generally disturbing statistics in the special rapporteur’s report.

    “Thirty-four journalists detained as of the end 2010. Forty-two attorneys facing prosecution since 2009. More than 100 members of the Baha’i community currently in jail. Three political prisoners executed in January amid a spike in officially announced executions this year; and reports that more than 100 juveniles are on death row,” Sammis said.

    Iran’s representative dismissed the special rapporteur’s findings as biased, lacking balance and failing to reflect human rights achievements in Iran.

    “By not reflecting faithfully the actual situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, rather assembling a catalog of poorly resourced, exaggerated and outdated allegations, the presentation of this report we believe is a very conspicuous manipulation of the United Nations human rights system. Its content is absolutely unjustified, unwarranted, and unacceptable for my country,” he said.

    The special rapporteur urged Tehran to allow him to visit to discuss the situation. The last time the Iranian government allowed a special rapporteur in was in 2005.

    But Shaheed did welcome a meeting with the Iranian U.N. envoy Tuesday in New York, which he said was frank and friendly.

    Special rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the U.N. Secretary-General to investigate allegations of human rights violations.

    Ahmed Shaheed took up his post in August.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora