“Does Iran Deserve to be on the UN Human Rights Council?”
Iranian Civil Society Urges Members to Reject Iran’s Candidacy
(23 April 2010) Prominent Iranian human rights defenders and other members of civil society are calling on United Nations member states to soundly reject the Iranian government’s bid to become a member of the Human Rights Council.
Despite Iran’s chronic neglect of international human rights, and deterioration marked by widespread atrocities during the past year, the Iranian government has filed its candidacy for membership at the UN’s Human Rights Council. The elections for Council members will take place at the General Assembly on 13 May 2010, in New York.
In a vigorous campaign, Iranian activists are urging a wholesome rejection of Iran’s candidacy, calling it an affront not only to Iranian victims of human rights violations, but to the global human rights system and community.
On 20 April 2010, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, prominent human rights defender and 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate, wrote to General Assembly members and to UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, calling for a rejection of Iran’s candidacy. In her letter she enumerated serious violations of Iran’s commitments under international human rights treaties to which it is a party.
In her letter, Dr. Ebadi asked UN member states: “Does the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has been violating human rights for years, deserve to be on the Human Rights Council? Could a state that has hitherto disregarded and ignored UN resolutions make proper judgments on observance of human rights in other countries?” She concluded by stating that: “We hope that by rejecting the Islamic Republic of Iran’s bid for membership in the Human Rights Council, you will draw the Iranian authorities’ attention to their wrongdoings…”
A group of prominent Iranian civil society leaders have also written to General Assembly members, expressing their outrage at Iran’s bid for membership on the Human Rights Council and urging its rejection.
In their letter, the Iranian activists noted that the General Assembly itself has strongly condemned serious human rights violations in Iran through its resolutions, most recently in December 2009.
“Make no mistake: Iran simply fails to “uphold the highest standards” of human rights or “fully cooperate with the Council,” as required by UN Resolution 60/251 establishing the criteria for membership in the Human Rights Council. “Iran’s election to the Human Rights Council will effectively put a seal of approval on its gross and systematic abuses, and allow the Iranian government to claim that its membership on the Council is evidence of its respect for human rights and compliance with international standards,” they wrote.
The letter was signed by leading members of Iranian civil society including: Asieh Amini, Parvin Ardalan, Akbar Ganji, Fereshteh Ghazi, Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, Mehrangiz Kar, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Omid Memarian, Roozbeh Mirebrahimi, Ali Akbar Mousavi, Sohrab Razzaghi, and Shadi Sadr.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran strongly urges General Assembly members to reject Iran’s candidacy for membership on the Human Rights Council, and instead initiate mechanisms holding Iran accountable for its gross human rights violations and to fully implement UN resolutions on the situation of human rights in Iran.
To read Shirin Ebadi’s letter click here
To read the letter by Iranian Activists click here