News / Middle East

UN Expert Says Iranian Rights Abuses Increasing

Bust of Neda Agha Soltan, a student killed during Tehran's 2009 election protests, before pictures of what rights advocates say are victims of Iranian human rights violators, Rome, Feb. 11, 2010.
Bust of Neda Agha Soltan, a student killed during Tehran's 2009 election protests, before pictures of what rights advocates say are victims of Iranian human rights violators, Rome, Feb. 11, 2010.
Lisa Schlein
Iran is blasting the findings of a United Nations researcher who alleges an increase in torture, executions and repression of free expression in the country.
 
Citing many accusations of abuse in Iran, U.N. Special Investigator Ahmed Shaheed says he is concerned at the high rate of executions, the majority of them drug offenses, which do not meet international standards for “most serious crimes.”
 
According to Shaheed, about 500 executions took place in Iran last year, including some 200 secret executions acknowledged by family members, prison officials or members of the judiciary.
 
“My current report also presents what appears to be unimpeachable forensic evidence that torture is occurring in Iran on a geographically widespread and systemic basis, and that methods applied to victims are done so systematically, as similar methods re-appear in multiple testimonies submitted by individuals in cities across the country," he said.
 
Shaheed says the Iranian government continues to persecute religious minorities, and that 110 Baha’is and at least 13 Christians are currently being held in detention centers for exercising their faiths.
 
Iran’s delegate at the Human Rights Council, Ali Ardashir Larijani, blasted Shaheed’s findings, calling the report a compilation of unfounded allegations and accusations.
 
“The report ... is a product of an unhealthy, non-objective and counter-productive exercise initiated by the United States of America and its European allies," Larijani said. "Therefore, we never expected to receive and consider a balanced and impartial report out of hostile policies of these states.”
 
Officials in Tehran have refused to grant Shaheed access into the country.
 
Still, Shaheed acknowledged Iran has made some significant advances in the area of women’s rights. These include advancements in health, literacy and in enrollment rates of both the primary and secondary school levels.
 
However, Shaheed says, recent policies bar women from pursuing a number of fields of study. And women, he adds, are generally restricted in their freedom of movement and prevented from holding certain decision-making positions in the government.
 
“A majority of human rights defenders, including those that defend the rights of women, religious and ethnic minorities, as well as those that work to advance protections for the environment, workers and children, continue to be subjected to harassment, arrest, interrogation, and torture and are frequently charged with vaguely-defined national security crimes," he said.
 
Shaheed is the former foreign minister of the Maldives who was named the U.N.’s Iran monitor in 2011.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Hassim Baltanar from: Iran
March 13, 2013 10:17 AM
"secret executions" - these are executions sanctioned by Islamic religious decree for the suppression of "deviant behavior" like not wearing the veil or questioning Islamic authority or a political party, or if you belong to minorities groups considered profaned to the "Prophet" mainly in rural villages and remote regions of Iran are prevalent and increasing. these so called "Executions" are nothing but Islamic murders of minorities, Sunny Arabs, Hazaras, Kurds... and unproven allegations of drug abuse. Iran is Islamic hell

by: kanaikaalirumporai
March 13, 2013 8:09 AM
Well, sovereign Iranian state should not be humiliated like this, if there's anything that is of any concern, then it should be investigated by the Iranian authorities themselves.

by: Anonymous
March 12, 2013 7:57 PM
Irans government will get a serious smack on the hand soon enough. They have been acting like idiots in front of the world stage. Everyone in Iran dislikes the Iranian government but cannot do anything about it. I've heard from several Iranian people that the moment they can topple their own government they absolutely will, preferably when the UN security council starts bombing the strategic locations. Hats off to the Iranian people, they are next. Bye Bye tyrant world leaders, hello peace.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs