United for Iran Highlights Ongoing Abuses at the 21st Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Geneva (18 September 2012) – United for Iran’s Puyan Mahmudian addressed the 21st UN Human Rights Council on a range of ongoing human rights violations in Iran. Mahmudian called upon Iran to allow access for the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, who authorities have denied entry to the country since the mandate’s establishment. Mahmudian further noted the climate of political repression, increased discrimination against women, and efforts to deny Iranian citizens online freedom and access to information. Additionally, he highlighted the deeply flawed penal code bill currently under consideration, which contravenes Iran’s international human rights obligations. Among other things, he urged authorities to end impunity for abuses, undertake a legitimate reform of the penal code, and ensure free and fair presidential elections in 2013.
A webcast and the full transcript of Mahmudian’s statement to the UN Human Rights Council can be viewed below.
I am speaking on behalf of the Democracy Coalition Project in coordination with United for Iran.
Since the Council established the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Iranian authorities have not allowed him access to the country, despite repeated calls for cooperation by the UN Secretary-General, the UN General Assembly, and this esteemed body.
Yet violations continue pervasively against Iranian citizens, while those responsible for abuses enjoy impunity. Iran’s leadership has failed to launch a credible investigation into the killings and torture of protesters and civil society activists since 2009.
At least 500 political prisoners are languishing in prisons, and earlier this year, Iran executed four political prisoners from its Arab minority.
With presidential elections approaching, the climate of repression must be addressed. Opposition leaders remain under house arrest, while key opposition parties have been banned or severely restricted. We call on Iran to allow for free and fair elections with international observation.
Discrimination against women is worsening. Last month, Iranian universities announced a new quota policy, effectively banning women from 77 fields of higher education.
The National Internet project is of utmost concern, and comes in contravention of the Council’s determination that access to the internet is a right that must be upheld. We urge Iran to abandon plans aimed to restrict their citizen’s access to information.
Lastly, Iran’s new penal bill fails to prohibit stoning, allows for child executions, and expands vague national security laws that are used to persecute dissenters.
We call on Iran to allow access for the Special Rapporteur; to end impunity for human rights abusers; to release political prisoners and ensure free and fair elections; to end discrimination against women and minorities; to abandon its national internet project; and to undertake a legitimate reform of its penal code.