UN Secretary General Report Shows Need for Special Human Rights Monitor
Report Details Grave Human Rights Abuses and Continuing Lack of Cooperation
(15 March 2011) The release of a report by the UN Secretary- General, Ban Ki-moon, on the human rights situation in Iran should encourage the UN Human Rights Council to establish a special monitoring and reporting mechanism, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.
“The message of this report is clear, it is time for the Human Rights Council to deal with the dramatically deteriorating situation in Iran by establishing a monitoring mechanism during its current session,” stated Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign.
The 14 March 2011 “Interim Report of the Secretary- General on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran,” which was mandated by General Assembly Resolution 65/226, documents Iran’s grave and deteriorating human rights situation.
The report notes: “The Secretary-General underscores the valuable contribution special procedures mandates can make to monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Iran, as well as facilitating technical assistance in relevant areas.”
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran appealed to all members of the Human Rights Council to follow the Secretary- General’s evaluation and implement a special mechanism, which will allow the United Nations to gather more information on an ongoing basis and be in a better position to assist the Iranian people, as well as, to press the government to cooperate to improve their human rights.
The report focused on the failure of Iranian authorities to cooperate with UN special mechanisms. No thematic Special Rapporteur has been allowed to visit the country since 2005, despite a “standing invitation” by Iran. What is more, the report noted a “low rate of reply” to urgent communications by Special Rapporteurs about massive numbers of reports of major human rights violations in Iran they have received.
The report included what it termed a “dramatic surge” in executions. Many executions follow convictions for Moharebeh, or “enmity against God,” and for drug-related crimes. According to the report, “Despite a growing acknowledgment by some Iranian authorities, that the death penalty may not be an effective deterrent to drug crime, the judiciary has continued to stress in public the need for tough punishments.”
The Secretary General’s report also documented widespread torture, amputations and floggings; the lack of due process in Iran’s courts; the persecution of human rights defenders and political opposition figures; laws permitting juvenile executions; and legal discrimination against women, concluding that major legal reforms would be needed to bring Iran into compliance with its human rights treaty obligations.
Since August 2010, the Campaign has documented mass, secret executions, mainly of alleged drug-traffickers, which have driven the execution rate to record highs. Iran executed at least 542 persons in 2010, as compared to 94 in 2005 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assumed power. Around 150 have been executed already in 2011, or one approximately every eight hours.
“Failure to act on Iran now would be a repudiation of the entire United Nations human rights system and threaten a positive trend in the Middle East,” Rhodes said. “Council members have an opportunity to rise above regional politics and to show the Council can effectively promote human rights.”