international civil society organizations urged the UN Human Rights Council to
renew the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur Dr. Ahmad Shaheed. Dr. Shaheed
recently presented a reports on the situation of the human rights in Iran. The
report was widely welcomed by the human rights groups worldwide.
The letter that was published today is signed by the Nobel Laureate Shirin
Ebadi, Iran Human Rights (IHR), World Coalition against the death penalty
(WCADP) a coalition representing more than 120 civil society organizations
around the world, and more than 20 iranian and non-Iranian civil society
The signatories of the letter call upon the members of the UN Human Rights
Council to renew and strengthen the mandate of Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special
Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
A Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran: Still an Urgent
Necessity March 22, 2012
"The Islamic Republic of Iran has issued a 'standing invitation' to the
special procedures but has repeatedly failed to respond to my requests that
dates for a visit be set, despite an oral exchange during the third session of
the Council, several high-level meetings and an extensive correspondence".
Philip Alston, 29 January 2007
We, the members of civil society - located inside and outside of Iran - call
upon the members of the UN Human Rights Council to renew and strengthen the
mandate of Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation
in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The interim report submitted to the UN General Assembly (A/66/374) and the
reports to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/19/66) submitted by Dr. Shaheed on
19 October 2011 and 12 March 2012, respectively, demonstrate that the
international community's concern about the deteriorating human rights
situation in the country is not unwarranted.
At a time when the number of executions, which are frequently summary and at
times performed in secret, is soaring in Iran and discrimination and violence
against religious, ethnic minorities, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people amongst other groups is ongoing, monitoring and reporting
conducted by an impartial and independent investigator such as the Special
Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran is urgent and vital.
We draw the attention of the UN Member States to the fact that despite its
standing invitation, no Special Procedure has had substantive access to Iran.
This history speaks volumes about the government's willingness to cooperate
with the UN human rights machinery, which is according to the former Special
Rapporteur Philip Alston necessary to "having a noticeable or durable impact on
the human rights situation".
We call the UN Member States to consider this history of cooperation and do
not support a "divide and conquer" strategy that may evolve from Iran's recent
announcement to invite two Special Procedures to the country within a year. By
inviting a thematic mandate holder, which lacks the resources for sustained
monitoring, Iran may justify a lack of cooperation with the Special Rapporteur
appointed to provide for continuous monitoring and reporting of the human
rights situation. We believe that any visit from a thematic mandate holder
prior to an initial visit by a country-specific mandate holder establishes a
dangerous institutional and political precedent for all Special Procedures;
especially for the ten existing country specific mandate holders.
Over the years, the United Nations' General Assembly has adopted multiple
resolutions expressing concerns at "the lack of continuity in the cooperation
of the Government with the mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights", and
the denial of access to the Special Representative (see for example 23 December
1994, 12 December 1997, and 26 February 2002).
The history of the Islamic Republic's relationship with the UN human rights
bodies underlines the fact that without the vigilance of the international
human rights community, there are no significant improvements of the human
rights situation in Iran.
In 1995, the Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance visited Iran. Despite
the ongoing and increasing persecution of religious minorities in the following
years, no thematic mandate holder has been given access to investigate and
report since 1995.
In 2003, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visited Iran at the
invitation of the Iranian government. From December 1st 2007 to November 30th
2008, however, Iran received the highest number of urgent appeals (19) from the
Working Group. In the past few years, the crackdown on civil society has led to
the imprisonment across the country and flight into exile of hundreds of civil
In 2005, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women visited Iran at the
invitation of the government of Iran. In 2007, however, she reported the
persecution of "campaigners" collecting signatures "from Iranians demanding the
revision and reform of current laws which discriminate against women". The
Iranian authorities responded to only 3 of the 18 communications sent to them
regarding 70 human rights defenders.
While every effort to encourage and facilitate cooperation with the Special
Procedures should be undertaken by all stakeholders, this should not be done at
the expense of efforts to ensure cooperation with the country specific mandate
holder and meaningful accountability to the human rights mechanisms.
The renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human
rights in Iran is an urgent necessity as the underlying circumstances that
warrant the country-specific mechanism remain unchanged. We therefore urge you
to renew Dr Ahmed Shaheed's mandate on the human rights situation in the
Islamic Republic of Iran.
Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Pubblicato da Lorenzo Bernini