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A History of United Nations Special Representatives and Rapporteurs in Iran

This chart collects UN Special Representative and Rapporteur activity in Iran since 1980.

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Name of UN Representative:

Mandates/ Concerns/ Findings/Visits:

Significant Reports/Relevant Information:

Olof Palme

 

Special Representative to Iran (and Iraq) 

 

November 1979-1982 

Mandate to:

  • visit the Iran-Iraq border;
  • assist in ending the conflict between Iran and Iraq;
  • verify peace negotiations between Iran and Iraq;
  • report back to the Secretary-General, who would, in turn, keep the Security Council informed of the Special Representatives findings.

Human rights concerns, with regard to findings of visits, include:

  • the treatment of minorities and discrimination against non-Islamic religious groups, specifically related to the treatment of Baha'is.

Mr. Palme visited Iran five times between 1980 and 1982.

Report on human rights protected by the Iranian Constitution:

Report on human rights violations committed against the Baha'is in Iran:

Andrés Aguilar

 

Special Representative to Iran 

 

1984-1986 

Mandate to:

  • establish contact with Iranian state officials;
  • observe the human rights "situation" in Iran.

Human rights concerns include:

  • restricted freedom of expression and opinion.

The government of Iran did not respond to Mr. Aguilar's repeated attempts to contact it.

Preliminary report on the human rights "situation" in Iran in 1985:

Reynaldo Galindo Pohl

 

Special Representative to Iran 

 

1986-1995 

Mandate to:

  • continue observations of the human rights "situation" in Iran;
  • maintain contact with the Iranian state officials.

Human rights concerns, with regard to findings of visits, include:

  • treatment of women;
  • treatment of children;
  • torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • the administration of justice;
  • arbitrary arrests;
  • the prison system;
  • the execution policy;
  • the treatment of the Kurdish and Naraoui population;
  • restrictions on the freedom of religion;
  • persecution of the Baha'is;
  • restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion;
  • enforced or involuntary disappearances;
  • the right to life;
  • the right to own property;
  • the right to work.

Mr. Pohl visited Iran three times between 1990 and 1992.  After his third visit, he was barred from visiting Iran.

Reports on the Human Rights "situation" in Iran from 1986-1995:

Amos Wako

 

Special Rapporteur on Summary or Arbitrary Executions 

 

1982-1992 

Mandate to:

  • investigate summary or arbitrary executions in Iran;
  • investigate all violations of the right to life, as established by multiple international human rights instruments;
  • devise prescriptive remedies;
  • engage in consultations and communications with relevant authorities.

Human rights concerns include:

  • large scale summary and arbitrary executions;
  • findings that suggest most violations of the right to life are directly related to acts of expression and opinion.

Mr. Wako did not visit Iran.

Universal Finding Reports (specifically highlighting Iran):

Abdelfattah Amor

 

Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance 

 

1993-2004 

 

Mandate to:

  • investigate allegations regarding religious intolerance in Iran;
  • investigate treatment of religious minorities;
  • recommend remedial measures.

Human rights concerns, with regard to findings of visit, include:

  • large scale religious intolerance;
  • severe persecution of the Baha'is;
  • severe persecution of Protestants.

Mr. Amor visited Iran in 1995 to conduct his investigation.

Report on the 1995 visit to Iran:

Universal Finding Reports (including Iran):

Maurice Copithorne

 

Special Representative to Iran 

 

1995-2002 

Mandate to:

  • continue observations of Iranian human rights;
  • maintain contact with the Iranian state officials;
  • send both urgent representations as well as requests for information to the government of Iran.

Human rights concerns, with regard to findings of visit, include:

  • status of women;
  • treatment of children;
  • torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • administration of justice;
  • arrests and prison situation;
  • execution policy;
  • Kurdish and Naraoui population concerns;
  • freedom of Religion and the Baha'i situation;
  • freedom of expression and opinion, and its relationship to the press;
  • enforced or involuntary disappearances;
  • right to life;
  • right to own property;
  • right to work.

Mr. Copithorne visited Iran in 1996 to observe the human rights "situation."

Reports on the Human Rights "situation" in Iran from 1995-2002:

Kamal Hossain

 

Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan

 

1998-2003

Mr. Kamal's human rights findings were directly related to Afghanistan and Pakistan, with only limited focus on Iran.

 

Mr. Kamal visited Iran five times between 1998 and 2002 (preceding mandated visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan to observe the human rights situation in Afghanistan).

 

 

Report on the 2001 and 2002 visits to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran:

Louis Joinet

 

Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

 

1991-1997; 2001-2003

Mandate to:

  • conduct investigations regarding the causes and consequences of situations of arbitrary detention in all their forms.

Human rights concerns, with regard to findings of visit, include:

  • failings of due process;
  • abuse of 'solitary confinement' in detention facilities;
  • restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion;
  • persecution of the press.

Mr. Joinet visited Iran in 2003, with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, at the invitation of the government of Iran.

Report on the 2003 visit to Iran:

Ambeyi Ligabo

 

Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion 

 

2003-2008 

Mandate to:

  • observe Iran with regard to the freedom of expression and opinion.

Human rights concerns, with regard to findings of visit, include:

  • restrictions of the freedom of the press;
  • restrictions of the freedom of journalists;
  • restrictions of the education and freedom of expression of students;
  • restrictions of the freedom of lawyers;
  • restrictions of the freedom to engage in political activity.

Mr. Ligabo visited Iran in 2003 at the invitation of the government of Iran.

Report on the 2003 visit to Iran:

Gabriela Rodríguez Pizarro

 

Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants

 

1999-2005 

Mandate to:

  • evaluate Iran's policies on Afghan and Iraqi migrant workers;
  • observe Iran's treatment of Afghan and Iraqi migrant workers.

Human rights concerns, with regard to findings of visit, include:

  • unequal opportunities for migrant workers, specifically the Afghan and Iraqi refugees;
  • poor treatment of minority groups, specifically the Afghan and Iraqi refugees.

 Ms. Pizarro visited Iran in 2004 at the invitation of the government of Iran.

Report on the 2004 visit to Iran:

Yakin Ertürk

 

Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women 

 

2003-2009 

Mandate to:

  • observe the governance structure of Iran with regard to women;
  • observe the status of women in Iran;
  • observe the institutional basis for violence against women in Iran.

Human rights concerns, with regard to findings of visit, include:

  • unequal opportunities for women;
  • gender-bias, resulting from hard-line Islamic principles.

Ms. Erturk visited Iran in 2005 at the invitation of the government of Iran.

Report on the 2005 mission to Iran:

Miloon Kothari

 

Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing 

 

2000-2008 

Mandate to:

  • investigate the legal/institutional framework and main housing policies;
  • investigate adequate housing in the context of living conditions in Iran;
  • investigate the adequate housing of minority groups.

Human rights concerns, with regard to findings of visit, include:

  • religious discrimination;
  • forced evictions;
  • discrimination against women regarding the right to housing.

Mr. Kothari visited Iran in 2005 at the invitation of the government of Iran.

Report on the 2005 mission to Iran:

Philip Alston

 

Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions 

 

2004-2010 

Mandate to:

  • investigate allegations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions globally.

Human rights concerns include:

  • the high number of extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions;
  • the failure of Iran to cooperate with the UN mandate to respect international standards with regard to capital punishment.

Mr. Alston has been barred from visiting Iran by the Iranian government.

Universal Findings Report (including Iran):

Ahmed Shaheed

 

Special Rapporteur/Representative on Human Rights in Iran 

 

2011 

Mandate to:

  • investigate human rights violations in Iran;
  • deliver the first report in September of 2011.

 

14 March 2011-- Interim report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Iran:

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