Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran*

Published: February 28, 2013

The present report is the second to be submitted to the Human Rights Council, pursuant to Council resolution 16/9, and communicates developments in the human rights situation of the Islamic Republic of Iran that have transpired since the submission of the Special Rapporteur’s second interim report to the 67th session of the General Assembly (A/67/369) in October 2012.

The present report outlines the Special Rapporteur’s activities since the Council’s renewal of his mandate during its 22nd session , examines ongoing issues, and presents some of the most recent and pressing developments in the country’s human rights situation. Although the report is not exhaustive, it provides a picture of the prevailing situation as observed in the preponderance of reports submitted to and examined by the Special Rapporteur. It is envisaged that a number of important issues not covered in the present report will be addressed in the Special Rapporteur’s future reports to the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.

 
Contents

I. Introduction

 II. Situation of human rights

 A. Free and fair elections

 B. Freedom of expression, association, assembly

 C. Human rights defenders

 D. Torture

 E. Executions

 F. Women’s rights

 G. Ethnic Minorities

 H. Religious minorities

 I. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community

 J. Socioeconomic rights

 III. Conclusions and Recommendations

I. Introduction

1. The Special Rapporteur concludes in this report that there continue to be widespread systemic and systematic violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Reports communicated by nongovernmental organisations, human rights defenders, and individuals concerning violations of their human rights or the rights of others continue to present a situation in which civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are undermined and violated in law and practice.  Moreover, a lack of Government investigation and redress generally fosters a culture of impunity, further weakening the impact of the human rights instruments Iran has ratified.

2. The Special Rapporteur continues to seek the cooperation of the Iranian Government in order to engage in a constructive dialogue and to fully assess the allegations of human rights violations. He regrets that it has been not possible for him to have a more cooperative and consultative relationship with the Iranian Government. He communicated his desire to visit the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to engage in dialogue and to further investigate the veracity of allegations of human rights violations most recently on 9 May 2012. However, the Government remains reticent on this engagement and his request.

3. The Special Rapporteur has also collaborated with a number of other Special Procedures mandate holders of the Human Rights Council to transmit three Allegation Letters, 25 Urgent Appeals, and 7 joint press statements in 2012. In addition to these communications, he has written to the Government on two separate occasions to express his concern about the ongoing house arrest of opposition leaders, as well as about restrictions on women’s access to education.

4. The Special Rapporteur has continued to complement the vast number of reports submitted by non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders through interviews with primary sources located inside and outside the country.  In this regard, 409 interviews have been conducted since the beginning of his mandate, 169 of which were conducted from September to December 2012 and submitted for this report.

5. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur wishes to report two reprisal cases that have been reported in the media in November and December 2012, in accordance with resolution 12/2, which called on representatives and mechanisms to report on allegations of intimidation or reprisal.[1]  In one case, three Afghan nationals, Mr Mohammad Nour-Zehi, Mr Abdolwahab Ansari, and Mr Massoum Ali Zehi, were reportedly tortured and threatened with hanging for allegedly submitting a list of executed Afghans to the Special Rapporteur.[2]

6. Other reports have maintained that five Kurdish prisoners located in Orumiyeh Prison, Mr Ahmad Tamouee, Mr Yousef Kakeh Meimi, Mr Jahangir Badouzadeh, Mr Ali Ahmad Soleiman, and Mr Mostafa Ali Ahmad, have been charged with “contacting the office of the Special Rapporteur” “reporting prison news to human rights organisations,” “propaganda against the system inside prison,” and “contacting Nawroz TV”.[3]  The prisoners were reportedly detained in solitary confinement for two months, interrogated about contact with the Special Rapporteur, and severely tortured for the purpose of soliciting confessions about their contact with the Special Procedure.

7. The Special Rapporteur is alarmed by these reports and joins the Human Rights Council and Secretary-General in condemning “all acts of intimidation or reprisal against individuals that cooperate with the human rights instruments.”[4] He wishes to emphasize the right of individuals to cooperate with the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, and underscores the fact that such cooperation is integral to their ability to fulfill their mandates.

8. The Special Rapporteur takes note of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s general observations on the present report[5], appreciates engagement through such responses, and continues to hope for direct engagement, as these observations should not preclude such cooperation.  Comments forwarded by the Iranian government primarily express concern over (a) the Special Rapporteur’s working methodology; (b) the credibility of his sources of information; (c) his assertions about the Government’s cooperation with the human rights mechanisms; and (c) his conclusions that allegations of violations of human rights reported to him demonstrate a need for Government investigation and remedy.

9. The Special Rapporteur has outlined his methodology on several prior occasions, and asserts the highest standards of both rigor and consistency in its application at all times. He notes that evidence and testimonies submitted to him have been assessed for compliance with the non-judicial evidentiary standards required of his mandate, that sources are cited appropriately and copiously, whenever possible, that only allegations that are cross-verified and consistently leveled by various sources are presented, and that his findings are in full compliance with protocol stipulated by the UN system.  Names of sources are omitted whenever requested, as required by the Special Rapporteur’s Code of Conduct.

10. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur has referenced periodic reports recently submitted to the treaty bodies by the Iranian government throughout his report, but maintains that participation or pledges made in such fora do not on their own substitute for concretely addressing and rectifying concerns raised by the human rights instruments.  He also continues to underscore the fact that despite its standing invitation, several requests to visit the country remain outstanding, and that no visit has been granted to any Special Procedure mandate-holder since 2005.

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