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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More