JOINT NGO LETTER IN SUPPORT OF HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 34TH RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN

Posted on: March 17th, 2017

On Thursday, March 16, Justice for Iran and 40 other NGOs addressed a joint statement to the permanent representatives of member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Read the full text below:

To: Permanent representatives of member states of the Human Rights Council

Your Excellency,

 We, the undersigned cross-regional group of human rights civil society organizations call on your government to support the resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran at the 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The country mandate has been a vital tool of promotion human rights in Iran since its establishment in 2011. It has proven effective at spotlighting the gravity of the situation in the country and provoking internal debate about some laws and practices that violate international human rights law and standards. Only through continued attention from the international community will these initial achievements translate into measurable reforms of law and practice that substantively improve the rights situation people in Iran face. (more…)


Iran: Repression of those seeking truth and justice for 1980s killings needs to stop

Posted on: March 8th, 2017

HRANA – 20 International and Iranian NGOs draw attention to the situation of women human rights defenders in Iran who seek truth and justice on International Women’s Day.

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) alongside other organizations issued a joint public statement calling on the Iranian authorities to quash the charges and sentences issued against Mansoureh Behkish, Maryam Akbari-Monfared, Raheleh Rahemipour and Ahmad Montazeri. (more…)


Iran’s Judiciary is Responsible for Protecting the Lives of Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Posted on: January 10th, 2017

HRANA News Agency – Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) has issued a statement in response to the plight of the prisoners on hunger strike in various prisons around the country. HRAI While stating the demands of those on strike legitimate, also hold the judiciary responsible for the wellbeing and lives of prisoners on the strike.  The full text of the statement follows:

 

Press Release:

A number of political prisoners in Iran are on hunger strike. The scope, number of strikes and the long duration of some of the hunger strikes have raised the concerns of public and human right defenders. (more…)


Joint NGO Letter in support of 2016 UNGA Resolution on human rights in Iran

Posted on: December 12th, 2016

Joint NGO Letter in support of 2016 UNGA Resolution on human rights in Iran

Your Excellency:

 We, the undersigned human rights organizations, welcome the decision of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly’s Third Committee to pass Resolution A/C.3/71/L.25 on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The resolution sends a vital message to all governments and the people of Iran that the human rights situation in the country is of international concern and that reforms are urgently needed.

We hope to see increased support for the resolution when it comes up for a vote again at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) plenary session and we encourage all member states to vote in favor of it.

Despite recent diplomatic and trade openings that have occurred since the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, human rights should continue to be a top concern in Iran and for those states seeking expanded diplomatic and economic ties to Iran. The situation in the country remains dire and has deteriorated in several areas. As the government pursues deeper international ties, this is a uniquely opportune time to push for significant improvements in the human rights situation in Iran.

Moreover, as Iran has a newly elected parliament, and an upcoming presidential election in May 2017, this is a crucial moment for the international community to outline its concerns to the government. To that end, while the text of this year’s resolution welcomes recent positive steps taken by the government, it also raises the most urgent rights issues in the country.

Iran has maintained the highest per capita execution rate in the world for several years, putting to death over 500 people so far in 2016. The majority of these executions take place after unfair trials and are for crimes that do not constitute the “most serious crimes” under international law, such as drug-related offenses. Executions in Iran have included the execution of child offenders, including at least nine in the last two years; public executions; and the execution of individuals on vaguely worded offenses, such as “enmity against God” (moharebeh).

On 2 August 2016, authorities hanged 25 Sunni men, of whom 22 were from Iran’s Kurdish minority and three were Iraqi nationals, on charges of moharebeh. The Iranian authorities have only announced the execution of 20 men on that date.  Our organizations and others observed that all these men had been convicted in proceedings marked by appalling examples of human rights violations, including the use of torture and other ill-treatment; admitting as evidence the use of forced “confessions”; and denial of access to a lawyer throughout the investigation stage. One of these men, all of whom were executed for alleged connections to armed activities, was Shahram Ahmadi, who maintained he had been tortured repeatedly by his interrogators during pre-trial detention which lasted almost three years. He also maintained that he had only been involved in non-violent religious activities.

The Iranian government continues to harshly restrict the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, association, and assembly.  These restrictions include widespread censorship of the press and Internet, the criminalization of peaceful dissent and protests, arbitrary restrictions on civil society, a ban on independent labor activities, and persecution for certain acts of religious worship. The Iranian authorities rely on the systematic use of arbitrary detention against journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders, political activists, student activists, artists and bloggers for exercising their protected rights. Ethnic minority activists, including Arabs, Baloch, Kurds and Azerbaijani Turks, and members of minority religions, such as Baha’is, Christian converts, Sunni Muslims, Sufi Muslims and the Yarasan, also face similar patterns of abuse and restriction of their rights.

On 26 November 2016, the Special Court for the Clergy in Qom, which is under the direct authority of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, issued a six-year prison sentence against Ahmad Montazeri. Montazeri was charged after posting on his official website an audio file of his deceased father, Grand Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri, the former Deputy Supreme Leader and one of Iran’s most prominent Shia Muslim clerics, harshly criticizing Iranian authorities’ mass execution of political prisoners in the 1980s.

Over the past two years, authorities have arrested numerous Iranian dual nationals, accusing them of participating in a “western-led” project to “infiltrate” the country and its core values. Authorities have also prosecuted several journalists, accusing them of being part of an “infiltration network,” offering as evidence any real or perceived association with individuals abroad, including family members living outside of Iran, as support for these allegations.

Systematic discrimination and violence against women in law and practice also merits serious concern. Married women, for instance, cannot obtain a passport without the permission of their husband. Moreover, a husband can prevent his spouse obtaining an occupation he deems against family values or harmful to his or her reputation. While women occupy about half of all university student slots, their economic participation in Iran is five times lower than men, according to government figures.

Since 2014, the Iranian Parliament has debated eight bills, passing four, that further curtail women’s rights by limiting access to health and family planning services, employment, or undermining protections against gender-based violence. For example one pending bill, the Bill to Increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline, curbs access to contraception and information about family planning, cuts government family planning programs, and outlaws surgical contraception. The Comprehensive Population and Family Excellence Bill, which is still before the Parliament, mandates employment discrimination against women and unmarried persons, makes divorce more difficult, and discourages police and judicial intervention in family conflicts.

We call on all UN member states to vote in support of Resolution A/C.3/71/L.25 on the situation of human rights in Iran at the UNGA plenary session. Passage of the Resolution will convey to all governments as well as the people of Iran that the international community is genuinely invested in human rights advancement in Iran.

Sincerely,

Roya Boroumand, Executive Director

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

 

Robin Phillips, Executive Director

The Advocates for Human Rights

 

Hassan Nayeb Hashem, Representative to the Human Rights Council

All Human Rights for All in Iran

 

Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa

Amnesty International

 

Kamran Ashtary, Executive Director

Arseh Sevom

 

Mansour Borji, Advocacy Director

Article 18

 

Thomas Hughes, Executive Director

ARTICLE 19

 

Shahin Helali Khyavi, Director

Association for Human Rights of the Azerbaijani People in Iran

 

Taimoor Aliassi, UN Representative

Association pour les Droits Humains au Kurdistan d’Iran-Genève (KMMK-G)

 

Mansoor Bibak, Co-Director

Balochistan Human Rights Group

 

Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Founder and President

Center for Supporters of Human Rights

 

Joel Simon, Executive Director

Committee to Protect Journalists

 

Jessica Morris, Executive Director

Conectas Direitos Humanos

 

Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Executive Director

Ensemble Contre La Peine de Mort (ECPM)

 

Ibrahim Al Arabi, Executive Director

European Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation

 

Ann Hanna, Head of International Advocacy

Freedom From Torture

 

Keyvan Rafiee, Director

Human Rights Activists in Iran

 

Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division

Human Rights Watch

 

Mani Mostofi, Director

Impact Iran

 

Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

 

Stéphanie David, Representative to the United Nations in New York

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

 

Phil Lynch, Director

International Service for Human Rights

 

Saghi Ghahraman, President

Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO)

 

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Executive Director

Iran Human Rights

 

Rebin Rahmani, European Director

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network

 

Mehrangiz Kar, Chairperson

Siamak Pourzand Foundation

 

Mahmood Enayat, Director

Small Media

 

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Executive Director

United for Iran

 

Elizabeth A. Zitrin, President

World Coalition Against the Death Penalty


19 Human Rights Organizations Call to Protect the Rights of Christians in Iran

Posted on: November 28th, 2016

A group of 19 human rights organizations call the international community and United Nations bodies to protect the rights of Christians in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In the summer of 2016, Iranian authorities increased their persecution of Christians, honing in on converts from a Muslim-background.

Between May and August 2016, in locations across Iran, security forces arrested a total of 79 Christians, according to informed sources, family members, and friends. The majority of those arrested were interrogated and detained for periods ranging from a few days to months. At the time of writing, some of these 79 Christians remain in detention and have still not been formally charged. Rights groups believe the true number of Christians apprehended by the authorities could be notably higher, as many arrests would have gone unreported.

In 2012, the Iranian government instituted polices to bar converts from Muslim backgrounds from attending services in official churches. Instead, Christian converts are forced to gather in informal groups known as “house churches”. These gatherings are considered illegal by authorities and are often raided. In August 2016 alone, security agents allegedly raided at least four house churches and house church members were arrested and interrogated.

The individuals responsible for house churches often face charges of “acting against national security through the establishment of house churches”. A group of four converts from Rasht were arrested in May 2016 and charged with “acting against national security.” A verdict is still pending from their hearing on 15 October 2016. Three of these men also faced charges of drinking communion wine and are appealing their sentences of 80 lashes each. Many others of those recently arrested are still waiting to know what charges will be brought against them.

Iranian authorities have put pressure on Christian leaders to emigrate, either through direct threats or through intentional harassment. Some church leaders have reportedly been told during interrogation that they will face 5 to 10 years in prison unless they leave the country. In other instances, Christians have said that harassment has taken the form of a daily summons to security offices for questioning, confiscation of documents such as identity cards to prevent the victim from buying or selling property or cars or forcing the Christians out of their jobs.

This pattern of treatment of Iranian Christians and converts violates Iran’s constitutional and international legal obligations. Article 14 of the Islamic Republic’s constitution contains provisions, which uphold basic religious rights for some non-Muslims including Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians. Article 19 also enshrines the principle of non-discrimination and article 23 prohibits authorities from investigating a person’s belief or taking action against someone solely on account of his or her beliefs.

As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Islamic Republic of Iran is obligated to ensure non-discrimination under Articles 2 and 26 and freedom of thought, conscience and religion under Article 18. Article 18 specifically protects the right of a person to change their religion.

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

Since the lifting of international sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), governments worldwide have been showing a commitment to improving relations with Iran and developing business opportunities. In June 2016, for example, the European Parliament published an analysis of EU-Iran relations in the wake of the nuclear agreement, entitled “An EU strategy for relations with Iran after the nuclear deal”. The strategy disappointingly includes very little mention of human rights.

We suggest the following response from the international community and the Islamic Republic:

(1) Governments should factor human rights, including the rights of religious minorities, into all bilateral dealings with the Islamic Republic. Governmental agencies should explore avenues beyond dialogue alone to ensure human rights violators are held accountable and that trade and diplomatic relations do not contribute to further abuses.

(2) The Secretary General and newly appointed Special Rapporteurs on freedom of religion and human rights in Iran should monitor and report extensively on violations of freedom of religious of people in Iran, in accordance with their mandates before the United Nations.

(3) The Islamic Republic of Iran must ensure that the values enshrined in the Iranian Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are upheld and that the right to freedom of religion and belief, including the right of conversion and of non-belief, for all its citizens and residents of the country to be respected.

Sincerely,

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

All Human Rights for All in Iran

Arseh Sevom

Article 18

Association for Human rights of Azerbaijani People in Iran

Association of Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva

Baloch Activist Campaign

Center for Supporters of Human Rights

Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM)

European Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI)

Impact Iran

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

Iran Human Rights

Justice for Iran

Middle East Concern

Siamak Pourzand Foundation

Small Media

United for Iran

19-organizitions-no-text-5


Numerous Executions of Sunni Prisoners in Iran, Continuation of the Ideology of Creators of Summer 1988

Posted on: August 18th, 2016

HRANA News Agency – Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI) condemns the mass execution of at least 20 Sunni prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison. HRAI issued a statement in which it states that the victims were deprived of a fair trial and it also states that the consequences of executions of these prisoners will be harmful to the security and stability of the society. The full text of the statement follows: (more…)


Political Prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison: Stop Executions!

Posted on: August 11th, 2016

HRANA News Agency – A group of political prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison in reaction to the mass-executions of Sunni prisoners and transferring three other political prisoners to an unknown location, wrote a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and announced their hunger strike and called on him to try to stop executions in Iran.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), after transferring three political prisoners, Saleh Kohandel, Pirouz Mansouri, Afshin Baimany to solitary confinements a group of prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison in a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and United Nations Human Rights Council, referred to the recent mass-executions in this prison and called for a moratorium on executions. (more…)


Death, Cancer and Injustice Threaten Afshin Sohrabzadeh’s Life

Posted on: May 18th, 2016

HRANA – Fourteen Human rights organizations released a joint statement, expressing deep concern about the dire condition of political prisoner Afshin Sohrabzadeh, who is dealing with cancer and illness in Minab prison, where he was exiled. The undersigned organizations highlighted the lack of medical attention threatening Afshin Sohrabzadeh’s life and demanded that the Iranian authorities allow for a just trial according to the Iranian laws and provide him the urgent medical attention that he needs.

Joint Statement of 14 human rights organizations: Death, Cancer and Injustice Threaten Afshin Sohrabzadeh’s Life:

Seven years ago, Afshin Sohrabzadeh was sentenced to 25 years in prison, after being convicted of working with Kurdish political parties. Since then, he has been held in a number of prisons in Iran. Throughout these years, this political prisoner has suffered from several diseases, including colon cancer. He was exiled to Minab Prison, where he underwent colon surgery in 2015. The operation was a failure and resulted in infection and internal bleeding.

In protest against his situation and the lack of proper medical care, he began a hunger strike by sewing his lips closed on Monday, April 11, 2016. Amnesty International published an Urgent Action Statement for Sohrabzadeh, titled Prisoner In Need of Urgent Medical Care. Based on published documents, the head of Minab Prison announced that he was saved at least once from certain death.

Sohrabzadeh was deprived of health insurance while incarcerated and his insurance card was confiscated at the time of his arrest. The high cost of treatment and medication and the inability of his family to provide it made his situation more difficult.

The right to life is one the most basic rights of every human being. Iran’s Judiciary is causing serious physical harm and even death of prisoners during their imprisonment by ignoring their right of life. Akbar Mohammadi, Valiollah Feyz Mahdavi, Abdolreza Jabari, Amir Hossein Heshmat Saran, Omidreza Mirsayafi, Mohsen Dogmechi, Hoda Saber, Naser Khani Zadeh, Mansour Radpour, Seyed Mohammad Mehdi Zaliyeh Naghshbandian, Alireza Karami Kheir Abadi, Afshin Osanlou, Saeed Kamali, Ali Naroui, Mostafa Nosrati and Shahrokh Zamani are only a few of the prisoners who have died in prison due to the lack of medical care by Iran’s Judiciary system.

What is happening inside Iran’s prisons is in violation of the Islamic Republic’s own laws. Article 113 of Iran’s Prisons Organization Law, adopted on Wednesday, December 14, 2005, states: “Soon after the prisoner feels ill,  he or she should inform the prison authorities and should receive referral  to use the prison’s infirmary or a related healthcare facility to receive medical care and the necessary medication.” Also, Article 120 of the same law indicates that “the head of prison’s clinic is required to visit and inquire about the patients‘ health on a daily basis and make certain that proper care is provided by doctors and nurses, monitoring their treatment and the quality of food continuously.”

Afshin Sohrabzadeh’s health is a cause for great concern and there is fear he will perish in prison like the other prisoners mentioned above. This political prisoner is in urgent need of medical care outside of prison, and without any limitations.

We, the undersigned organizations, demand that the Iranian Government acts within the framework of the UN’s international human rights treaties, the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran,  and human values, and, provide full and urgent medical care for Afshin Sohrabzadeh. We are also demanding that Mr. Sohrabzadeh be granted immediate medical furlough, before he is provided with a fair trial based on the rule of law. We urge the Iranian Judiciary to begin an investigation into the mistreatment and torture taking place in the Kamyaran Intelligence Office, based on the violations in the case of Afshin Sohrabzadeh and the many cases before him.

Names of Organizations:

 

Shirin Ebadi, President

Centre for Defenders of Human Rights

 

Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

 

Roya Boroumand, Executive Director

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

 

Shadi Sadr, Co-Director

Justice for Iran

 

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Director

United for Iran

 

Keyvan Rafiee, Executive Director

Human Rights Activists in Iran

 

Mani Mostofi, Director

Impact Iran

 

Mahmood AmiryMoghaddam, Executive Director

Iran Human Rights

 

Mehrangiz Kar, Chairperson

Siamak Pourzand Foundation

 

Habibullah Sarbazi

Baloch Activists Campaign

 

Hassan Nayeb Hashem, Representative to the Human Rights Council in Geneva

All Human Rights for All in Iran

 

Taimoor Aliassi, UN Representative

Association pour les Droits Humains au Kurdistan d’IranGenève (KMMKG)

 

Raphaël ChenuilHazan, Executive Director

Ensemble Contre La Peine de Mort (ECPM)

 

Rebin Rahmani, Director of European Branch

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network


Thirty-four NGOs call on UN Human Rights Council to keep attention on Iran

Posted on: March 17th, 2016

Thirty-four NGOs call on UN Human Rights Council to keep attention on Iran

March 16, 2016

To: Member States of the UN Human Rights Council

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned human rights and civil society groups, write to you to call on your government to support the resolution to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran at the 31st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The recent nuclear accord between Iran and the P5+1 provides the international community with an opportunity to focus attention on the chronically dire human rights situation in Iran. Despite repeated recommendations from UN treaty bodies, the UN Secretary General and the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, no significant progress on human rights has materialized in Iran. Those living in the country continue to suffer from serious and systematic violations of their civil and political rights, while the economic, social, and cultural rights of several groups remain severely restricted.

Death Penalty

The country has seen a disturbing escalation in its use of the death penalty, with the Special Rapporteur reporting between 960 and 1050 people executed in 2015. Dozens of executions were carried out in public. As with previous years, the majority of those executed were convicted of drug-related offences in grossly unfair trials. The use of the death penalty for drug-related offences is in contravention of international law, which restricts the use of the death penalty to the “most serious crimes,” interpreted by international human rights bodies as being limited to crimes involving intentional killing. Following years of international attention, in particular by the Special Rapporteur, several members of Parliament proposed a bill in December 2015 to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment for drug-related offences that do not involve armed activities. The bill, however, remains in draft form, and there is no timeline identified for its consideration in Parliament. The continued attention of the Special Rapporteur will be needed to ensure the abolition of the death penalty for drug-related offences, both in law and practice.

The authorities of Iran also continue to impose death sentences for crimes that are either vaguely worded and overly broad, such as “enmity against God” and “spreading corruption on earth”, or do not constitute recognizable criminal offences under international law such as “insulting the Prophet” and “adultery.” Mohammad Ali Taheri, the spiritual leader of Erfan-e Halgheh group, for example, who has been held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison for nearly five years, remains at the risk of being sentenced to death for “spreading corruption on earth”. Iranian law also retains the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual relations between adults.

The country has also continued to brazenly disregard its obligations under international law and the absolute prohibition under customary international law on the use of death penalty against juvenile offenders (people younger than 18 at the time of the crime). The execution of at least four juvenile offenders were reported in 2015: Javad Saberi, Samad Zahabi, Fatemeh Salbehi and Vazir Amroddin. Amnesty International has also recorded at least seven cases of juvenile offenders who were granted a retrial following the 2013 reforms to the country’s Islamic Penal Code, but were resentenced to death after courts concluded that they had attained “mental maturity” at the time of the crime.

Freedom of Expression, Association and Peaceful Assembly

The rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as freedom of the press, remain heavily curtailed in Iran, with hundreds of activists, journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders, women’s rights advocates, trade unionists, lawyers, student activists, artists, and members of ethnic and religious minorities arbitrarily detained and given increasingly harsh prison sentences, often for trumped up national security-related charges. According to the October 2015 report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, “the judiciary continues to impose heavy prison sentences on individuals who peacefully exercise these rights.”

Likewise, in his February 2015 report, the UN Secretary-General expressed concern at the shrinking space for human rights defenders, who continue to face harassment, intimidation, arrest, and prosecution for their work in defending human rights and speaking up against violations and abuse. These include human rights defender Narges Mohammadi and human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, who are serving prison sentences of six years and 13 years, respectively; both have been convicted of charges including “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the system,” in connection with their peaceful human rights activism. Authorities also continue to indiscriminately block access to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, as well as close or suspend media outlets, and jam foreign satellite television stations.

The Iranian authorities continue to prevent the formation of independent trade unions and repeatedly arrest labor leaders in contravention to the right to freedom of association. In February 2016, a Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Esmail Abdi, Secretary General of Iran’s teachers association, to six years’ in prison for “spreading propaganda against the state” and “gathering and colluding against national security.”

Torture and Fair Trials

Judicial proceedings in Iran, including those resulting in a death sentence, continue to fall woefully short of international fair trial standards. Prior to trial, individuals are frequently detained for weeks or months during which they have little or no access to lawyers or their families. A new Code of Criminal Procedures, which came into effect in June 2015, entitles the accused to request a lawyer from the time of arrest and requires the authorities to inform the accused of this right. However, regressive amendments to the Code in June 2015 removed the provision that rendered investigations void in the case of failure to respect the right to access a lawyer. Moreover, under these amendments, individuals facing charges including those related to national security are not permitted to access an independent lawyer of their choice at the investigative stage; instead, they can only choose from a pool of lawyers pre-approved by the Head of the Judiciary.

Detainees are often subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, which include beating, prolonged solitary confinement, threats against family members, and denial of medical treatment. Judges routinely use confessions obtained under torture and other ill-treatment as evidence and dismiss individuals’ allegations of torture and other ill-treatment without ordering investigations.

Violence and Discrimination against Women and Girls

Concerns previously expressed by human rights organizations over systematic discrimination and violence against women and girls also persist. Married women do not have equal rights with respect to divorce, child custody and inheritance, and must legally have their husbands’ permission to study, hold a job, or travel out of the country. Iran has no anti-domestic violence law. Compulsory “veiling” (hijab) laws continue to empower security forces to target women for harassment, violence, and prosecution. Women are barred from attending major sporting events and from assuming certain public posts, such as judges. Since 2015, Iran’s Parliament debated several draft laws that would further erode women’s rights if passed, including the Bill to Increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline, which would block access to information about contraception and outlaw vasectomies and tubectomies. The Comprehensive Population and Exaltation of Family Bill would require all private and public employers to discriminate on the basis of gender, marital, and parental status in recruitment, giving priority to married men with children.

Women and girls also remain inadequately protected under the law and remain at risk of sexual and other violence, including domestic violence, marital rape, and early and forced marriage. The legal age of marriage for girls is 13 years, but girls under this age can be married to a person chosen by their father or their paternal grandfather with a court permission. According to the Annual Statistical Report of the National Organization for Civil Registration, at least 40,404 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 married between March 2014 and 2015

Discrimination against Minorities

Iran’s ethnic, religious and linguistic minority communities face persistent discrimination and persecution. Disadvantaged and marginalized ethnic groups, including Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Balochis, Kurds, and Turkmen, continue to face discrimination, particularly in access to education, employment, political office, and the enjoyment of cultural and linguistic rights. Kurdish language and literature programs were recently introduced to the curriculum of some high schools and universities in Iran’s Kurdistan Province. Ethnic minorities, however, remain unable to use their own language as a medium of instruction for primary education. Those who call for greater cultural and linguistic rights often face arrest, imprisonment, and in some cases the death penalty. Members of religious minorities, including Baha’is, Sufis, Yaresan, Christian converts from Islam, Sunni Muslims, and Sunni converts from Shi’a backgrounds, continue to face discrimination in employment, education, and freedom to practice their faith. Baha’is remained deprived of access to higher education institutes. Dozens of Baha’is and Christian converts and members of other religious minorities were also arrested and imprisoned in 2015.

Reasons for Renewal

With human rights violations continuing at full force in Iran, it is essential that the Human Rights Council keeps sustained attention on the situation of human rights in Iran and urges much needed and long overdue legal changes and reforms. The Special Rapporteur’s comprehensive reporting has provided an impartial assessment of the nature, gravity, and scale of human rights violations in Iran. It has also compelled the authorities to address the grievances of those who have borne the brunt of human rights abuses.

Renewal of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate will send a powerful signal to the Iranian authorities that these human rights violations will remain a matter of pronounced concern, globally and for the Council, until meaningful, tangible improvements are made.

Given the entrenched lack of accountability for human rights violations in Iran, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur provides an effective and constructive means for the Council to protect and promote human right and show victims of human rights violations and human rights defenders, including those who have had to flee the country, that the international community is concerned about their rights.

We urge your government to strongly support the renewal of the mandate.

Sincerely,

Roya Boroumand, Executive Director

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation

Robin Phillips, Executive Director

The Advocates for Human Rights

Hassan Nayeb Hashem, Representative to the Human Rights Council in Geneva

All Human Rights for All in Iran

Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Middle East North Africa Programme

Amnesty International

Kamran Ashtary, Executive Director

Arseh Sevom

Thomas Hughes, Executive Director

ARTICLE 19

Shahin Helali Khyavi, Director

Association for Human Rights of the Azerbaijani People in Iran

Taimoor Aliassi, UN Representative

Association pour les Droits Humains au Kurdistan d’Iran-Genève (KMMK-G)

Diane Ala’i, Representative to the United Nations

Bahá’í International Community

Mansoor Bibak, Co-Director

Balochistan Human Rights Group

Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Founder and President

Center for Supporters of Human Rights 

Renate Bloem, Main Representative to the United Nations in Geneva

CIVICUS

Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator

Committee to Protect Journalists

Jessica Morris, Executive Director

Conectas Direitos Humanos

Hassan Shire, Executive Director

East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project

Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Executive Director

Ensemble Contre La Peine de Mort (ECPM)

Ibrahim Al Arabi, Executive Director

European Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation

Susan Munroe, Chief Executive

Freedom From Torture

Keyvan Rafiee, Executive Director

Human Rights Activists in Iran

Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division

Human Rights Watch

Mani Mostofi, Director

Impact Iran

Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

Phil Lynch, Director

International Service for Human Rights

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Executive Director

Iran Human Rights

Rod Sanjabi, Executive Director

Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

Saghi Ghahraman, President

Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO)

Rebin Rahmani, Director of European Branch

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network

Jessica Stern, Executive Director

OutRight Action International

Maya Foa, Director of the Death Penalty Team

Reprieve

Mehrangiz Kar, Chairperson

Siamak Pourzand Foundation

Mahmood Enayat, Director

Small Media

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Executive Director

United for Iran

Mohammad Mostafaei, Director

Universal Tolerance

Elizabeth A. Zitrin, President

World Coalition Against the Death Penalty


36 human rights groups call on UN to pass resolution Iran

Posted on: November 12th, 2015

To: Member States of the UN General Assembly

12 November 2015

 

Your Excellency:

We, the undersigned human rights and civil society organizations, urge your government to vote in favor of Resolution A/C.30/70/L.45 on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This vote will take place during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for the Third Committee on Thursday, 19 November 2015. (more…)