United Nations General Assembly “Deeply Concerned” about Human Rights Conditions
Tuesday 23 December 2008
Resolution based on Secretary General’s Analysis
(18 December 2008) By a vote of 69 to 54 the United Nations General Assembly has repudiated and expressed “deep concern” for Iran’s human rights record. The Resolution cited inter alia documented cases of torture; the high incidence of executions and juvenile executions without proper legal safeguards; the persecution of women seeking their human rights; discrimination against minorities and attacks on minority groups like the Baha’is in state media; and the violation of a wide range of political rights.
“Iran’s human rights practices violate and help undermine an international consensus about human dignity and how to protect it,” stated Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
“The General Assembly vote demonstrates a broad international agreement that the Iranian government is depriving its people of their human rights and pursuing a policy that is isolating them and their citizens from international cooperation and partnership,” he added.
The Resolution calls on the Iranian Government to facilitate visits by UN Special Rapporteurs. Additionally, it called for the elimination of cruel or inhuman punishments; abolition of public executions and the executions of persons who were under 18 years at the time of their offence; abolition of the use of stoning as a method of execution; and elimination of discrimination against women and minorities, including the emancipation of the Baha’i community. It also urged the Iranian government to cooperate on human rights and justice reform with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN.
The Resolution follows a report on human rights in Iran by the United Nations Secretary General, mandated by a similar resolution in 2007, which was issued in October 2008. That report was broadly critical of the lack of an independent judiciary in Iran, and noted that the Human Rights Commission in Iran failed to comply with the Paris Principles by which the United Nations evaluates national human rights institutions. The Report criticized Iran’s draft penal code for mandating the death sentence in cases of apostasy. It noted a “sudden surge in executions” including 29 in July 2008 alone. Noting also the high number of juvenile executions, the Report said a recently announced “moratorium” on juvenile executions was not legally binding (the Campaign and other independent organizations have noted that the “moratorium” does not even apply to murder cases for which many of the juveniles have been convicted). The Report criticized penal practices in Iran, citing the widespread use of solitary confinement and incommunicado detention, and that numerous referrals by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture had been met only with denials by the authorities. The Report also focused on discrimination and persecution of minorities such as Baha’is and women’s rights activists, and also outlined a wide range of political rights violations including freedom of opinion and expression.
More recently, in November 2008, the UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights Defenders and on Violence against Women criticized Iran’s harassment of women’s rights activists including members of the Million Signatures Campaign whose peaceful work violates no laws. The Special Rapporteurs noted a lack of cooperation from Iranian authorities.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran advised that the various reports and statements by UN bodies should be taken as a positive effort to help Iran fulfill its international legal obligations as a member of the world body and signatory to major human rights treaties.
“The international community has no interest in singling out or isolating Iran concerning human rights,” the Campaign said. “We see these reports as evidence that the family of nations cares about Iran and its people and is reaching out with constructive advice.”
To read the text of the resolution visit:
To read the UN Secretary General’s Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran visit: