ICCPR Report – II. Introduction
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a. Description of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran was founded in 2008 to provide urgent and needed support for human rights and human rights defenders in Iran. The Campaign is dedicated to a nonpartisan approach to human rights documentation and advocacy based on international standards and legal obligations. The work of the Campaign has three main dimensions: research and documentation; international advocacy; and stimulating international support and solidarity for human rights defenders and other groups. The Campaign researches and reflects the concerns of members of the Iranian civil society, including human rights defenders, journalists, members of women’s, student and labor organizations, and others inside Iran. The Campaign has become a leading source of objective information and analysis for international governmental institutions, national governments, media and civil society.
The Campaign is affiliated with the Foundation for Human Security in the Middle East, an independent, nongovernmental organization based in The Hague, Netherlands, and registered under Dutch and European law, and chaired by Professor Cees Flinterman. Funding for the work of the Campaign comes exclusively from private foundations and individuals, as the Campaign accepts no grants or donations from governmental sources.
b. Context of the Report
Particularly over the past five years, Iran has become among the most repressive countries in the world in terms of basic civil and political rights, with an official policy aggressively hostile to human rights and civil society; a country where torture is routine and more people are executed per capita than in any other country in the world. The profound legal discrimination faced by women and religious minorities has not been addressed, but peaceful and legal efforts to change it from civil society have been met with violent repression. Especially since the June 2009 presidential election, peaceful political dissent and demands for human rights have been met with extreme violence, including dozens of murders, and dissent has been criminalized and punished with sentences including the death penalty. Over five thousand people were detained after the 2009 election and at least 500 of them remain in temporary detention or serving prison terms, and arrests of human rights defenders and reform-oriented intellectuals, journalists and others continue as of this writing. The Iranian judiciary has given up any pretense of independence and objectivity on politically sensitive cases, and is influenced by the Revolutionary Guards and intelligence services. Victims of human rights abuses are receiving credible threats of harm to themselves or their families if they speak to journalists or human rights groups. A sizable segment of Iran’s community of independent human rights activists have been forced into exile or are imprisoned, and those in Iran are isolated and often banned from travel. Iran is stepping up attempts to restrict Internet access, imposes travel bans on civil society activists on their way to international conferences, and otherwise seeks to impose isolation on the society. Iran has barred visits from UN special rapporteurs since 2005. It is one of the few countries in the world that refuses visas to international human rights groups.