Iran’s presidency of UN disarmament body challenged by Hillel Neuer

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Testimony delivered before the United Nations Human Rights Council by UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, 15 March 2024

Mr. President, the United Nations and this Council are charged with protecting the right to life, the right to be free from torture, the rights of women to be treated equally.

Today we ask: Is the Council protecting these basic human rights for the people of Iran?

In September 2009, we came here with political prisoner Ahmad Batabi and activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam, to demand an urgent session on Iran.

We pressed again and again for 13 years.

Finally, on 24 November 2022, this Council met and created a fact -finding mission into Tehran’s bloody crackdown on protesters, in wake of the death of Mahsa Amini.

Now, we’ve all seen the report released one week ago.

The mission found many serious human rights abuses amounting to crimes against humanity — including murder, imprisonment, torture, rape, persecution, forced disappearances, and other inhumane acts, committed as part of a widespread systematic attack against a civilian population, namely women and girls.

Today we ask: By what logic, by what morality, was this Islamic Republic of Iran named in November as Chair of the UN Human Rights Council Social Forum? How will we explain this to the women tortured and raped in Evin prison?

This same Islamic Republic of Iran sponsors terrorism and illegally seeks a nuclear weapon. Why is it in this very building on Monday, the Islamic Republic of Iran will become President of the UN Conference on Disarmament?

By what logic and morality can a terrorist government be named head of a global body charged with disarmament?


UN Watch