NEW YORK, March 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC applauds the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) for expressing serious concern about human rights violations in Iran. The Council resolution also renews the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 21 in favor, 9 against, and 16 abstentions.
"The UN message to President Rouhani is clear. The Iranian people's human rights are a priority concern of the international community," said E. Robert Goodkind, Chair of AJC's Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI). "The Special Rapporteur mandate is an essential tool for the international community to address the Iranian government's continuing egregious human rights violations."
The resolution is based on the most recent reports of Special Rapporteur Shaheed and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who emphasized that extensive human rights violations in Iran are ongoing.
Shaheed told the Council "the rhetoric and modest steps taken [by the Iranian government] to date are yet to translate into the kinds of deep reforms required to respond to the human rights concerns raised by the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, the UN Secretary-General, Treaty Bodies, all Special Procedures, human rights defenders and international organizations."
He expressed concern that a lack of adherence to Iran's international law obligations and rule of law continues to undermine human rights. "The coordinated mass arrest of human rights defenders has served to effectively dismantle the most important Iranian human rights organizations," Shaheed said.
The Secretary-General reported that there has been "no significant improvement" on key human rights, despite pledges made by President Rouhani during his campaign and after his swearing in.
JBI has welcomed the release of some political prisoners, including women's rights advocate and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, and statements pledging rights improvements. But JBI remains concerned that, as of January 2014, 895 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience were unjustly detained.
Moreover, Iran continues to assault the freedoms of expression, assembly, association, religion and the equal rights of women. And torture, arbitrary arrests, detentions and unfair trials, including extensive due process violations, remain widespread.
JBI continues to call on "President Rouhani to immediately and unconditionally correct the gross violations documented by Special Rapporteur Shaheed," said Goodkind. The HRC resolution calls on Iran to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to permit him to visit Iran.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee