Secretary General: Iran Engages UN But Intensifies Crackdown on Freedom of Assembly and Speech
Following are the summary, introduction, and recommendations of the report of the UN secretary general on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/189. The full report can be accessed here or under symbol A/73/299 on the OHCHR website.
The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/189, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report to it at its seventy-third session on the progress made in the implementation of the resolution. Patterns and trends in the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran and recommendations to improve the implementation of the resolution are presented in the report.
- The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/189, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to report to it at its seventy-third session. The report provides information on progress made in the implementation of the resolution and draws on observations made by the United Nations human rights treaty bodies, the special procedures of the Human Rights Council and various United Nations entities. It also draws on information from State media and official sources of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and non-governmental organizations.
- The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has continued to engage with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations treaty bodies, and has responded to a number of communications from the special procedures of the Human Rights Council.
- Since the issuance of the previous report of the Secretary-General, to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-seventh session (A/HRC/37/24), the Government has begun to implement an amendment to the drug-trafficking law which retroactively abolishes the mandatory death penalty for some drug-related offences. Notwithstanding the positive steps, following increasing widespread protests the human rights situation has been marked by an intensified crackdown on protesters, journalists and social media users. The application of the death penalty, including for juvenile offenders, has continued at a high rate. Reports of torture, arbitrary detention and trials that failed to adhere to international standards have been received, as has information on persistent discrimination against women and girls, as well as members of minority groups.
- On the basis of the observations made in the present report, the Secretary-General makes the below recommendations to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- The Secretary-General reiterates his call upon the Government to prohibit the execution of juvenile offenders in all circumstances and to commute their sentences. He urges the Government to abolish the mandatory death penalty and to introduce a moratorium on its use. Pending the introduction of a moratorium, legal guarantees and safeguards should be established, including respect for international due process and fair trial standards, notably with regard to the right to legal assistance at all stages of the proceedings and the abolition of Qesameh. Pending the introduction of a moratorium, existing legislation should be reviewed to ensure that the death penalty is only imposed for the “most serious crimes”, that is, those involving intentional killing. Transparency concerning the numbers of persons who have been sentenced to death and executed — and for which crimes — should be ensured. Prompt notification about the date and place of executions should be provided, and access to reliable information on the death penalty should be guaranteed.
- The Secretary-General urges the Government to repeal laws authorizing the use of torture and ill-treatment as a form of punishment, to ensure that prompt, thorough and effective investigations are undertaken by independent and impartial bodies into all deaths in custody and reports of torture or other ill-treatment and to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.
- The Secretary-General urges the Government to ensure the mental and physical integrity of all detainees and to permit access to all places of detention for independent national and international monitoring organizations.
- The Secretary-General urges the Government to ensure that international standards and guarantees of due process and fair trial are met, including by ensuring that all defendants, including those who are accused of crimes against the internal and external security of the State, are assured access to counsel of their choosing during the preliminary investigative stage and all subsequent stages of the judicial process.
- The Secretary-General urges the Government to ensure that human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and environmentalists can perform their roles safely and freely, without fear of harassment, arrest, detention and prosecution, and to release all those detained solely for legitimately and peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
- The Secretary-General urges the Government to repeal laws that criminalize or unduly restrict freedom of expression online, to ensure that online content is only restricted pursuant to a decision by an independent and impartial judicial authority in accordance with due process and to revoke decisions that enable the monitoring or filtering of content which are inconsistent with the right to privacy.
- The Secretary-General urges the Government to amend and repeal laws and practices that discriminate against women and girls, in accordance with international standards, and to ensure that the rights of women human rights defenders and protestors are protected.
- The Secretary-General urges the Government to protect the rights of all persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities and to address all forms of discrimination against them, and to immediately and unconditionally release all those imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief.
- The Secretary-General urges the Government to ensure that all individuals whose rights have been violated are afforded an effective remedy, to ensure prompt, thorough and effective investigations by independent and impartial bodies of allegations of violations and to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.
- The Secretary-General urges the Government to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
- The Secretary-General calls upon the Government to continue to cooperate and follow up on the concluding observations of all treaty bodies and special procedures mechanisms.
- The Secretary-General encourages the Government to continue its constructive engagement with OHCHR on the follow-up to all recommendations made in the present and previous reports, and those of international human rights mechanisms, including the universal periodic review.Full report can be accessed here or under symbol A/73/299 on the OHCHR website.