PRESS RELEASE

Iran will now speak for 120-strong NAM during U.N. debates

Rights group urges Ban Ki-moon to bring with him UN resolutions on Iranian human rights violations

GENEVA, Aug. 22 –  Human rights activists are slamming U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon for announcing his attendance at next week’s Tehran summit of the 120-member Non Aligned Movement “on the same day that the Security Council heard a top-level U.N. report on Iranian complicity in the Syrian regime’s murder of its own people, in violation of resolution 1747 passed under the organization’s highest Chapter 7 authority.”

“By going to Tehran’s propaganda summit, the U.N. Secretary-General is abdicating his moral voice at a crucial time, and sending absolutely the wrong signal,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, an independent human rights organization which has brought Ahmad Batebi, Mohammed Mostafeh, Naznanin Afshin-Jam and other top Iranian dissidents to testify before the UN.

“Mr. Ban’s spokesman today invoked so-called diplomatic responsibilities. But diplomacy cannot trump decency. The fact is that Mr. Ban is under no obligation to go to Tehran now – and certainly not when the mullahs are pumping weapons, funds and intelligence into the hands of Assad forces who are bombarding innocent women and children in Hama, Aleppo and Damascus, harming millions of lives.”

“Iran practices international terrorism, subjugates women, persecutes minorities, rapes dissidents, rigs elections, denies the Holocaust, and disregards UN resolutions to halt its illegal nuclear weapons program. Mr. Ban’s visit wrongy hands legitimacy and propaganda points to the forces of repression in Tehran, and their chief ally in Damascus.”

Moreover, UN Watch also revealed how Iran’s hosting of the conference carries other significant consequences for UN bodies.

According to the group’s practice, as host of the latest NAM summit, its 16th in 50 years, Iran becomes the group’s chair and will represent it at the UN over the next three years.

“We will now see Iran take the floor at the Human Rights Council and other top UN forums, speaking on behalf of 120 member states. It’s revolting: a regime that tramples the human rights of women, religious minorities and gays will become a leading voice in debates on how to protect these and other victims,” said Neuer.

“Now that he’s already going to Tehran, however, we urge Mr. Ban to, at the very least, bring with him the latest UN General Assembly resolution detailing Iran’s massive human rights violations, the report by the Human Rights Council’s Iran monitor documenting the country’s ‘striking pattern of violations of fundamental human rights guaranteed under international law,’ and the six Security Council resolutions on Iran’s illegal nuclear program.”

“Mr. Ban’s office today said he would make clear to the Iranian leadership what the world expects from Tehran. If so, then we call on him to officially present these critical UN positions to Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and to quote them in his summit address.”

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