One Day Before The Resolution, The Iranian Delegation Attacks The Secretary-General’s Report
Campaign’s daily blog from Geneva– Yesterday, the delegation representing Iran on the Human Rights Council presented the Iranian government’s response to the UN Secretary General’s report which was submitted informally last week and formally today, with phrases that sounded like slogans and without making references to the points raised in the report. The response was general and lasted only five minutes. According to a diplomat from a country that will be voting for the resolution tomorrow, Iran’s defense clearly showed that Tehran authorities have no will for accountability and responsibility.
Ali Bahraini, the Iranian diplomat who read the Iranian government’s response, is a less-known figure at the Human Rights Council. He read a statement which many diplomats and NGO’s present at the Session regarded as weak, lacking in structure, slogan-oriented, and without regard for the principle points raised in the UN Secretary-General’s report. “The Iranian delegation had more than a week to work on its response and to present a documented reply. The reply presented could have been written even before reading the Secretary-General’s report,” said a member of an international NGO, active in the process of this resolution.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran emphasizes that the approval of Resolution 65/226 is the result of political motivations of certain countries and many countries voted against it. We believe that passing a third resolution represents a regrettable alteration of the human rights system at the United Nations and its contents are inexcusable and unjustified. Despite our strong opposition to the Resolution, we announce our preparedness to provide all necessary information to the office of the High Commissioner, in order that an objective report may be compiled,” said Ali Bahraini in the time made available to him. He said that they do not believe that the Secretary-General’s report is a faithful reflection of the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The representative from Iran called the information in the Secretary-General’s report “weak,” and its content as “misleading.” He also said that the Secretary-General’s report lacked balance and objectivity and its information has been picked from a selected collection sent to the office of the High Commissioner for Human Right.
Ali Bahraini questioned the honesty and accuracy of information in the Secretary-General’s report, even as in one of the articles of the Secretary-General’s report, he has revealed that during a meeting with employees of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, an Iranian authority confirmed that 60 secret executions had taken place in Mashad. During the Session’s entire four weeks, none of the representatives of the Iranian delegation have been willing to speak about the issues raised in the Secretary-General’s report. The said report describes arbitrary arrests and executions, limitations on freedom of expression and assembly, and gender, ethnic, and religious discrimination in detail.
A diplomat present at the Session told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the response from the Iranian government was completely unapt with the conditions of a country that is expected to witness another resolution pass against its human rights situation tomorrow, before the cameras and the eyes of millions of people in the world. According to this diplomat, the Iranian diplomatic delegation has not been seen in public much over the four weeks of the Session, and some of its members who are supposed to be sitting at the Iran desk were walking around even during formal sessions.
“The Islamic Republic has continually expressed its honest commitment to the promotion of human rights. The Islamic Republic of Iran has seriously decided to maximize its abilities and capacities in order to achieve the best results in the area of human rights based on its Constitution and commitment to the international human rights tools. The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has worked deeply to recognize people’s rights so that the society would blossom based on justice and equality and legitimate freedoms, and cooperation and economic and social development,” said the representative from Iran in another part of his response to the Secretary General’s report.
The response by Iran made general references and no specific points from the Secretary-General reports were challenged; nor were examples of what the Iranian representative called “biased” and “unfair” in the report presented. The interesting point is that unlike the previous days, during the time Ali Bahraini read Iran’s response, all members of the Iranian delegation were walking around instead of sitting next to him. It is said that this Session could see the end of the appointments of several diplomats who tried unsuccessfully for the past several months to prevent this resolution from passing.
Regarding the delegation’s expectations from the Secretary-General’s report, Ali Bahraini said that the people and government of Iran have had numerous achievements in different areas of life over the past several years, and the Iranian delegation expected for portions of these achievements to be reflected in the Secretary-General’s report. He also added that self-monitoring is one of the main components of the Iranian system of government. “The Islamic Republic of iran belongs to the people and is accountable to their wishes. Based on this, different oversight mechanisms have been designed to guarantee the proper performance of the government and the judicial system,” he said. He also referred to the 2004 passing of the “Citizenship Law” in Iran, and that according to this law, every province has oversight offices for the full implementation of the law.
A diplomat from one of the member states on the Council told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the Iranian representative’s statements were such that it appeared the country the Secretary-General spoke about in his report is a country other than Iran. In fact, Ali Bahraini did not explain how, with the existence of the various oversight mechanisms he was referring to, hundreds of cases of human rights violations are still reported in the Secretary-Genral’s report. Nor did he explain why the provincial offices with the responsibility to implement and oversee the Citizenship Law have not only not served as a guarantee that citizenship rights are observed, but over the past two years, the volume and dimension of violations of human rights have increased drastically in Iran.
The Human Rights Council Session continues today, March 24th, with the review and vote for the resolution that ask for the appointment of a special rapporteur for Iran.