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All you need to know: a quick breakdown of findings from Dr. Ahmed Shaheed’s UN report (October 2012)

(16 October 2012) -- Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, has just released his latest report to the United Nations General Assembly. Read the 23 page report and IHRDC’s quick breakdown of the report’s highlights here:

On Thursday, 11 October 2012, the report of Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, to the United Nations General Assembly was released to the general public. The 23 page report can be read here.

Who is the Special Rapporteur?

Dr. Ahmed Shaheed was selected by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011 as a neutral party to investigate human rights violations in Iran and to write an official report based on these findings.  Other special representatives and rapporteurs on Iran have preceded Dr. Shaheed, though with more specialized mandates.  (A History of United Nations Special Representatives and Rapporteurs in Iran).  Last March, the UN Human Rights Council voted in favor of a resolution to extend Dr. Shaheed’s mandate for another year.

What is in the report?

The latest report discusses what Dr. Shaheed found regarding a range of issues including capital punishment, treatment of human rights defenders, rights of the child, religious and ethnic discrimination, independence of the legal profession and revisions in the Islamic Penal Code.  The report concludes with Dr. Shaheed’s recommendations for what can be done to address the abuses and violations documented therein. The report mostly focuses on issues since the June 2009 Iranian Presidential election.

Why does it matter?

His report describes patterns of human rights abuses in Iran and concludes that these violations are of a systemic nature. The United Nations General Assembly will use what the UNSR found in the report and his recommendations to take further actions to ensure the adherence to human rights norms in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

What does he recommend?

Paragraph 74: Recommends that the government of the Islamic Republic address inadequacies and inconsistencies in the rule of law as well as the impunity of institutions and individuals who violate human rights.

Paragraph 75: Requests that his mandate be viewed as an opportunity for constructive dialogue on the human rights situation in Iran rather than a punitive measure.

Paragraph 76: Recommends the re-examination of legislation violating the country's human rights obligations. 

Paragraph 77: Recommends the precise definition of national security crimes in such a way that does not conflate national security and the freedom of expression

Paragraph 78: Recommends that the government of the Islamic Republic endeavor to prevent discrimination on gender, ethnic, or religious grounds in public life and protect the freedom of association and the freedom of expression.

Paragraph 79: Recommends a thorough review of violations of prisoners' rights from allegations of torture to violations of the right to due process and reiterates the need for an independent investigation into the post-2009 election violence and the immediate release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.

Paragraph 80: Recommends a moratorium on the death sentence until fair trials for defendants can be ensured and urges the government of the Islamic Republic to consider restricting capital punishment and the prohibition of stoning.

Paragraph 81: Recommends that steps be taken to set up a national institution to investigate human rights violations and provide remedies to victims.

For more information about:

Freedom of expression and the right to information (paragraphs 10-22), see:

In her 2005 commentary Constitutional Obstacles: Human Rights and Democracy in Iran, Mehrangiz Kar explores impediments on the freedom of expression in the context of political discourse in Iran.

Freedoms of assembly and association (paragraphs 23-25), see:

A Year Later: Suppression Continues in Iran examines the continued violent repression of dissent in the year following the post-2009 election protests.

Human Rights Defenders (paragraphs 26-28), see:

Update on the Condition of Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand in Evin Prison highlights the condition of a Kurdish human rights advocate who has been imprisoned since July 1, 2007.

IHRDC’s 70-page report—On the Margins: Arrest, Imprisonment and Execution of Kurdish Activists in Iran Today—discusses the targeting, detention and intimidation of human rights activists in Iran’s Kurdish region.

Freedom of religion (paragraphs 29-39), see:

Danial Shahri, the son of Christian converts, recounts his imprisonment and interrogation.

Crimes against Humanity argues that the Islamic Republic's treatment of its Baha'i minority constitutes crimes against humanity.

Administration of Justice (paragraphs 40-44), see:

Interview with Shirin Ebadi, wherein Iran's Nobel laureate discusses the obstacles faced by human rights lawyers in Iran.

In Their Own Words: Human Rights Violations against Iran's Kurdish Minority explores, among other things, the Islamic Republic's use of torture to extract confessions and its disregard for due process in its persecution of Kurdish Iranian activists.

The right to education (paragraphs 60-62), see:

The witness statement of Sara, a professor of political science, discusses restrictions on teaching, scholarship and publication in Iran. 

Events at Conference for Iranian Studies Demonstrate Restrictions on Academic Freedom in Iran points to the Islamic Republic's intimidation of scholars to prevent them from attending an academic conference.

The Arab community (paragraphs 63-66), see:

Resumption of torture of Ahwazi Arab political prisoners from Khalafabad (Ramshir) in Khuzestan after the imposition of death sentences sheds light on the condition of five prisoners from the Arab community.

The rights of the child (paragraphs 70-73), see:

Crimes against Children in Iran—in this recent IHRDC legal commentary attorney Mohammad Mostafaei reviews the cases of three children who were sentenced to death and executed and the standards of criminal responsibility in death penalty cases involving juveniles.  

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Tagged as:

Freedom of Religion, Free Speech, Free Association, Baha'i, Christians, Due Process, Torture, Imprisonment