A review of Annual Human Rights Violations Report in an interview with Ahmad Batebi

In the past few days Human Rights Activists Group in Iran published its annual report examining about five thousand documented reports of human rights abuse cases in Iran in year 1389. This report took special attention from analysts and public opinion critics; therefore we conducted an interview with Ahmad Batebi as group spokesperson which comes below with no further introduction:

HRANA: Thank you Mr. Batebi for giving us your time. Regarding conversations in relation with the annual report as the first question, please clarify why such extensive reports of this sort, with regular timely schedule, like HRANA Newspaper, or monthly report as well as the annual report are being prepared and published by the group?

Ahmad Batebi: Any association or organization is required to publish the result of its activities somehow. Publishing timely and regular  reports generally is one of customary ways in this sort of work and human rights organizations such as Human Rights Activists in Iran also use this method.

Human Rights Activists group in Iran since about two years ago, and after the second round of expansion and divisional development in its institution, set a mandate to implement systematic regular reporting methods in its agenda.

Accordingly, various sectors such as workers, women, children and … collect and archive all received reports on a daily, weekly and yearly bases.

My organization has a unit called Statics, Publishing and Works. In fact, organizing these reports is the responsibility of this unit. In this unit there are specialists who are responsible for reviewing and analyzing all monthly gathered information based on investigational and statistical standards and publish the result in a news report or booklet containing informational news and statistical analysis at the end of each month.

These reports generally are prepared and laid out as a booklet and published in the form of a PDF file on the Internet.

At the end the year also all monthly reports are complied in a comprehensive report as the annual report. Management of each Section updates monthly reports using the latest received information. They will check for errors or mistakes and correct them and if there is any newly received news related to any months, they will complete the reports accordingly.

Finally at the end of each year the reports are issued to public in two formats, the annual report book and sectional report booklets (annual report related to the women rights, students, and prisoners and …).

These books are available to the public at the end of each year, The group also provides several copies of this reports, printed, binded and hard-covered, to various international organizations and institutions.

Please explain how these reports are basically prepared?

In Fact input data and sources of those are provided in three ways.

First reports are those done by this group domestically which are prepared by its members and associated human rights monitors. These are generally reports which are sourced and published by Human Rights Activists in Iran. The films conducted of victims of Karaj Rajaie Shahr prison can be considered as the examples of this type of reports. Such reports typically are published with HRANA groups or Group Newspaper or HRANA News agency logo or copyright.

The second method is using news and information published by other human rights organizations which their authenticity has been proven. These news are also published in The Human Rights Activists reports and are archived in its information banks mentioning their source.

The final source is the information and statistics issued by domestic resources, official authorities or governmental sources. News such as executions announced by the judiciary or the prison statistics and etc.

Of course I must mention in addition to these three sources reports and statements issued by international organizations are also used as sources or material.

While introducing the annual report, you had used descriptive term “unprecedented”. Why did you call this report “unprecedented”?

By descriptive we mean an understandable explanation, with minimum percentage error.  Generally In group reports, in addition to statistics and news, there are analysis which examines the existing status. The annual report issued in 1389 had the same characteristics, yet this time the approach to issues was fundamentally different.

I called this report unprecedented as in preparation of this report for the first time the highest human right standards important for international organizations were implemented. And also for the first time rates of error were calculated and recorded in the report. These rates are derived from formulas generally used in standard investigative reports.

But the other important matter is that for the first time, based on news received from across Iran over the year, there is an analysis performed to show statistical data of human rights violations in each province or in every principle.

Based on these analysis and statistics there are charts and diagrams produced which demonstrate what is described in the report graphically and make its understanding easier for the readers.

By preparation of these diagrams and charts it is being suggested that the reports in fact are not exclusive representatives of all human rights violation cases. Because based on these figures basically in many provinces there are no cases of human rights violations. In provinces such as Ilam and Bushehr as well as many other provinces there are less than 10 reports are published annually. The group believes that the fact that there are no reports of human right abuse cases in some provinces does not mean that the condition in those provinces is acceptable.

The group believes that in fact, the collection of reports published by human rights groups; do not represent the true annual report of human right violation, but it represents “the capacity in reporting human rights violations”.

With this outlook, as well as information and analytical statistics it is possible to monitor the strengths and weaknesses of human rights watch in different parts of Iran and to work to recognize and remove those deficiencies.

This work for the first time in history human rights activities in Iran has been done in such an extensive scope and that is why it is unprecedented.

In your opinion, what effect such reports will have on the human rights situation in Iran?

I think the answer is clear. Primarily to inform the international community of what is happening in Iran, and secondly to analyze and review the condition for ourselves and other activists. This means providing the opportunity for civic organizations to recognize their weaknesses and strengths. Certainly eliminating weaknesses will empower civil society.

These reports as well are necessary for human rights organizations and international institutions like the UN. These organizations have no representative in Iran and are not allowed to visit Iran. As a result they have absolutely no ability to monitor human rights condition in Iran. They gather their major part of required information through these very reports.

And it is their final reports to the official international organizations which will affect those to make decisions regarding dealing with the Iranian government in this matter. And generally those decisions could it possible to put pressure on human rights violators.

Considering the high volume of reports and cases mentioned in the reports mentioned above, what is your opinion about the Iranian government allegations against human rights groups accusing them of creating a dark picture of human right conditions in Iran?

This is not only happening in Iran. In all those countries where human rights violations are systematically carried out by governments, human rights activists are called with titles such as an enemy’s agents, spies, enemy’s paid agents, or in best case, ignorant people who misrepresent their country, however non of these are true.

Not only the reports of Human Rights Activists in Iran, but many other reports of human rights groups are as well based on verified and supported news and information.

Apart from this, even if only the news and information released by the Iranian government are to be considered, the human rights condition in Iran still will be considered very serious.

For example, if you only consider the stats of executions announced by official sources inside government in Iran, the figures are still higher than many other countries using death penalty. This is not something that human rights activists have reported; these are reports by the official government. There are Dozens of examples like this.

But as Human Rights Activists in Iran by relying on facts and documents case by case are trying to increase pressure on those who are violating human right in Iran, the harsh and irrational reactions by Iranian government are easily understandable. But we emphasize that the only solution to this problem is to recognize and respect all legal commitments and relevant protocols.

Thank You for your time.

 

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