The UN Human Rights Council adopted today the report on Iran’s human rights record. Iran tried to portray a rosy and unreal picture of the situation in the country, supported by several friendly governments. Western democracies and civil society groups made very strong statements to set the record straight.
Human rights violations remain widespread in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Abuses of freedom of expression, women’s rights, the incarceration of human rights defenders and political prisoners, misuse of the death penalty, as well as the poor treatment of religious and national minorities remain flagrant.
Addressing the Council on behalf of Iran, Mr. Kazem Gharib Abadi proclaimed, as inspired by the religious democracy that is founded in Islamic principles rooted in Iran’s religious and cultural heritage, that Iran is “firmly committed to the promotion of human rights,” that “Iran’s approach to human rights is comprehensive,” and “that all citizens, men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law.”
Multiple countries took the floor to praise Iran offering congratulations on their progress on human rights. Examples include:
- Nicaragua: “We wish to congratulate Iran for their commitment at the international level for the protection and promotion of human rights.”
- Pakistan: “We commend the government’s acceptance to many of the recommendations.”
- Russia: “We commend their interaction with treaty bodies and openness to dialogue, and recommend adopting the report.”
- Sudan: “We commend that they have accepted the majority of the recommendations.”
- Sri Lanka: “The progress made is commendable.”
- Venezuela: “We wish to express satisfaction of the government’s implementation of the MDG’s, evidence of their commitment to fundamental rights.” They also highlighted that, “The implementation of sanctions is a violation of the basic rights of the people of Iran.”
However, The United Kingdom expressed concern with “the sharp increase in the use of the death penalty,” and other ongoing violations. Similarly, The United States renewed their “call on Iran to end the harassment and persecution of journalists and demonstrate its commitment to freedom of expression,” and to “uphold its religious freedom commitments and obligations and to release those imprisoned for religious beliefs.”
Finally, civil society organizations painted a grave picture; highlighting that same sex relations are still punishable by death, that Baha’i’s remain without basic citizenship rights let alone religious freedom, that legislative change has not been upheld in practice, that there is continued denial of due process, and that the death penalty remains a common prescription for political dissidents and religious minorities.