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

    Greenpeace Leak: US-EU Trade Deal Would Favor Corporations

    Activist group leaks classified documents to 'shine a light' on talks that could create the world's largest bilateral trade and investment pact

    Video Ethiopia's Drought Takes Toll on Children

    East African country’s crops failed in 2015, creating food shortages for 10 million – including 6 million children whose development may be compromised

    What Your First Name Reveals About Who You Vote For

    People named Chad are more likely to be Republicans and Jonathans are usually Democrats

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora