UN Human Rights Council Overwhelmingly Votes to Renew Iran Mandate
UN Special Rapporteur Highlights “Culture of Impunity” in Iran
(March 22, 2013) The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran welcomes the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 26 to 2 vote to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran for the third consecutive year. The Campaign also urged Iranian authorities to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and allow him to enter the country.
In his most recent report on human rights in Iran, presented March 11, Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed described “a situation in which civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are undermined and violated in law and practice,” and described his repeated attempts to seek cooperation from the Iranian government. Iranian authorities continue to refuse Shaheed access to the country, and Iran’s representative to the Human Rights Council again relied on personal attacks against the Special Rapporteur during the 22nd session of the Council.
The vote was 26 in favor and 2 against the renewal of Ahmed Shaheed’s mandate, with 17 abstentions.
“Today the international community took a strong stand on the ongoing human rights crisis in Iran. This vote demonstrates that the nuclear issue is not their only concern,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Campaign.
After Shaheed presented his report to the Council on March 11, 2013, Iranian delegation leader and Iranian Human Rights Council head Mohammad Javad Larijani chose to verbally attack the Special Rapporteur himself, instead of responding to the content of his report. Larijani’s personal attacks led to the president of the UN Human Rights Council reminding the Council to maintain decorum during the discussion, saying, “I cannot fail to notice that the mandate holder was targeted in these remarks. . . . No personal attacks against the Special Rapporteur should be made.”
“The strong vote in favor of the mandate’s renewal shows that Larijani failed to persuade the Council members to support Iran’s stance. The international community registered unequivocal support for Shaheed’s work; the Iranian government must cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and allow him access to the country,” Ghaemi said.
UN Special Rapporteur Shaheed presented his most recent report on human rights in Iran to the Human Rights Council on March 11, 2013. Since the beginning of his mandate in 2011, the Special Rapporteur has conducted 409 interviews “with primary sources located inside and outside the country,” the report states, including 169 interviews conducted between September and December 2012 and submitted for the March 2013 report.
“[T]here continue to be widespread systemic and systematic violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. . . . Moreover, a lack of Government investigation and redress generally fosters a culture of impunity, further weakening the impact of the human rights instruments Iran has ratified,” the report states.
Today’s renewal of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate intensifies international pressure on Iran to address its human rights violations and begin meaningful cooperation with UN mechanisms. Since the creation of the mandate, the Special Rapporteur has released four in-depth reports on the situation of human rights in Iran. Additional reports by the UN Secretary General, resolutions on the situation of human rights in Iran by the UN General Assembly, a review of Iran’s compliance with the ICCPR by the Human Rights Committee, an opinion issued by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and several Universal Periodic Reviews add to the Special Rapporteur’s assessment of “an apparent increase in the degree of seriousness of human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran welcomes the global support for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, and urges Iran to cooperate with all United Nations human rights mechanisms to address the deteriorating situation of human rights in Iran.