Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Letter to Members of the United Nations on Human Rights in Iran – November 2009

To all members of the UN General Assembly
November 11, 2009
Signatory civil society organizations,
1. Advocacy Forum (Nepal)
2. Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Malaysia)
3. Alternative Development Studies Center (Egypt)
4. The American Islamic Congress
5. Amnesty International
6. Angikar Bangladesh Foundation (Bangladesh)
7. The Arab Penal Reform Organization (Egypt)
8. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development – FORUM-ASIA
9. Asian Legal Resources Centre (Hong Kong, China)
10. Association for Human Rights Legal Aid (Egypt)
11. Association for Women’s Rights in Development
12. Bahá’í International Community (Switzerland)
13. Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (India)
14. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (Egypt)
15. Cambodian Center for Human Rights (Cambodia)
16. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (Cambodia)
17. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (Cambodia)
18. Caucasian Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (Georgia)
19. Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
20. Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (Egypt)
21. Center for Human Rights and Development (Mongolia)
22. Center for Trade Union and Workers’ Services (Egypt)
23. Citizens’ Council for Human Rights Japan (Japan)
24. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation (South Africa)
25. Civil Initiatives Development Center (Russia)
26. Committee for the Freedom of Prisoners of Conscience in Uzbekistan (Uzbekistan)
27. Committees for the Defense of Democracy, Freedoms, and Human Rights in Syria (Syria)
28. Community Legal Aid Institute – LBT Masyarakat (Indonesia)
29. Conectas Direitos Humanos (Brazil)
30. Corporacion Humanas (Chile)
31. Dasan Human Rights Center (Republic of Korea)
32. Democracy Coalition Project (United States)
33. Democratic Workers’ Solidarity (Republic of Korea)
34. Droits Humains Sans Frontieres (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
35. East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (Uganda)
36. The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement (Egypt)
37. Egyptian Child’s Rights Center (Egypt)
38. Egyptian Social Democratic Center (Egypt)
39. Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (France)
40. FLARE – Freedom, Legality, and Rights in Europe (Italy)
41. Freedom House (United States)
42. GayJapanNews (Japan)
43. Global International (Mongolia)
44. Greek Helsinki Monitor (Greece)
45. Guria Swayam Sevi Sansthan (India)
46. Habi Center for Environmental Rights (Egypt)
47. Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia (Serbia)
48. Hesham Mubarak Law Center (Egypt)
49. Human Rights Association for the Assistance of Prisoners (Egypt)
50. Human Rights Development Centre (Bangladesh)
51. Human Rights First (United States)
52. Human Rights Watch (United States)
53. Human Rights Working Group (Indonesia)
54. Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (Indonesia)
55. Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (Indonesia)
56. Information and Culture Nuri for the Disabled Korean (Republic of Korea)
57. International Alliance of Women (Belgium)
58. International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
59. International Commission of Jurists (Switzerland)
60. International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (Indonesia)
61. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
62. Interregional Free Union of Students (Russia)
63. Interregional Human Rights Group (Russia)
64. Institute of Human Rights Education (India)
65. Italian Association for Women in Development (Italy)
66. Jagaran Media Center (Nepal)
67. Judicial System Monitoring Programme (Timor Leste)
68. Justice Foundation (Bangladesh)
69. Justice and Peace Netherlands (Netherlands)
70. Justicia y Proceso (Venezuela)
71. Korean House for International Solidarity (Republic of Korea)
72. The Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights (Kyrgyzstan)
73. Land Center for Human Rights (Egypt)
74. Migrant Forum in Asia (The Philippines)
75. National Iranian American Council (United States)
76. National Organization for Human Rights in Syria (Syria)
77. NERVAZHI (India)
78. New Women Research Center (Egypt)
79. One World Foundation for Development and Civil Society (Egypt)
80. Open Alternative (Russia)
81. Palestine Peace Solidarity (Republic of Korea)
82. Palestinian Human Rights Organization (Lebanon)
83. Pax Romana (Switzerland)
84. Partnership for Justice (Nigeria)
85. People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (Republic of Korea)
86. Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (India)
87. People’s Watch (India)
88. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor –EMPOWER (Malaysia)
89. Physicians for Human Rights (United States)
90. Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity ( India)
91. Quê Me: Action for Democracy (Vietnam)
92. Right to Life Foundation (Bangladesh)
93. Sasvika Sanghatan (India)
94. Shumuu Organization for Disabled Person’s Rights (Egypt)
95. South African Council of Churches (South Africa)
96. South Asia Network Against Torture & Impunity (India)
97. Suara Rakyat Malaysia – SUARAM (Malaysia)
98. Sudhanthra (India)
99. Taiwan Association for Human Rights (Taiwan)
100. Tibetan United Nations Advocacy (Switzerland)
101. Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights
102. Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (the Hague)
103. United Group (Egypt)
104. West African Human Rights Defenders Network (Togo)
105. Women’s Learning Partnership (United States)
106. Working Group on Justice for Peace (Thailand)
107. Young Europe (Russia)
108. Youth Human Rights Group – Kharkiv (Ukraine)
109. Youth Human Rights Movement (Russia)

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned independent human rights and civil society organizations from diverse regions and societies around the world, respectfully urge your support for a United Nations General Assembly Resolution condemning the serious human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and advising the IRI of steps it should take to respect the rights of the Iranian people in accordance with international law.

Human rights conditions in Iran have deteriorated dramatically since the General Assembly’s 2008 Resolution, as the Secretary General has indicated in his recent report. It is incumbent upon the international community and a matter of the utmost moral urgency to emphasize to the government of Iran that common human rights standards must be upheld.

Since the disputed presidential elections in June 2009, thousands of Iranian citizens have suffered grave violations of their internationally protected human rights; many have been beaten and shot during peaceful protests, and there are credible, verified reports of torture, rape, and ill-treatment in detention. Hundreds of reform-oriented citizens and political figures have been tried in “show trials” without due process, and several have already been sentenced to lengthy prison terms, while others linked to the protests have been sentenced to death.

Iran has egregiously violated its citizens’ rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and used grossly disproportionate force against peaceful protesters, many of whom were intentionally killed on the streets or in detention. Thousands have been arbitrarily arrested, “disappeared,” and held in incommunicado detention, in what amounts to a massive ideological purge. In an effort to force “confessions” to attempting to destabilize the government, many have been beaten, threatened, and tortured, including sexually. Journalists, human rights defenders, students, and other groups have been targeted.

There are calls from powerful clerics and politicians to declare opposition political activities as violations of law that are punishable by death. In the meantime, Iran executed 115 persons convicted of crimes in 50 days following the 12 June disputed elections, and has also executed juvenile offenders in the face of strong international protests. The threat to the lives of detained individuals is acute, while the wave of executions is also a warning of what may await others seeking their human rights through peaceful protests.

Women continue to suffer from institutionalized discrimination across many spheres of Iranian society. Human rights defenders working peacefully to establish gender equality are under particular stress as many have been arbitrarily detained and prosecuted for their peaceful efforts to end legal discrimination against women. Moreover, as mentioned in the report of the Secretary General, the situation of ethnic and religious minorities, particularly the Bahá’í , continues to be of great concern.

The General Assembly must take a firm stand on behalf of universal human rights principles, and on behalf of the people of Iran. While the international community focuses its attention on other issues of concern with regard to Iran, it must make clear that it will not forget the Iranian people who continue to be denied their fundamental human rights. We take this opportunity to urge your support for a General Assembly resolution that will help show Iran a path toward respecting the human rights values and standards upon which the United Nations was founded.

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UN General Assembly human rights resolution on Iran

Sixty-fourth session
Third Committee
Agenda item 69 (c)
Promotion and protection of human rights:
human rights situations and reports of
special rapporteurs and representatives

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,
Iceland, Israel, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg,
Malta, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America:
draft resolution

Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

The General Assembly,

Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, as well as the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights,1 the International Covenants on Human Rights2 and
other international human rights instruments,

Recalling its previous resolutions on the situation of human rights in the
Islamic Republic of Iran, the most recent of which is resolution 63/191 of
18 December 2008,

1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary General submitted pursuant to
its resolution 63/191,3 which highlights many areas of continuing concern with
respect to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Islamic Republic of
Iran and notes with particular concern negative developments in the area of civil and
political rights since June 2008, and which discusses some positive achievements
with respect to economic and social indicators;

2. Expresses its deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights
violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran relating to, inter alia:
1 Resolution 217 A (III).
2 Resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
3 A/64/357.
(a) Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,
including flogging and amputations;

(b) The continuing high incidence and increase in the rate of executions
carried out in the absence of internationally recognized safeguards, including public
executions and executions of juveniles;

(c) Stoning as a method of execution and persons in prison who continue to
face sentences of execution by stoning, notwithstanding a circular from the head of
the judiciary prohibiting stoning;

(d) Arrests, violent repression and sentencing of women exercising their
right to peaceful assembly, a campaign of intimidation against women’s human
rights defenders, and continuing discrimination against women and girls in law and
in practice;

(e) Increasing discrimination and other human rights violations against
persons belonging to religious, ethnic, linguistic or other minorities, recognized or
otherwise, including, inter alia, Arabs, Azeris, Baluchis, Kurds, Christians, Jews,
Sufis and Sunni Muslims and their defenders, and, in particular, attacks on Baha’is
and their faith in State-sponsored media, increasing evidence of efforts by the State
to identify, monitor and arbitrarily detain Baha’is, preventing members of the Baha’i
faith from attending university and from sustaining themselves economically, and
the continuing detention of seven Baha’i leaders who were arrested in March and
May 2008 and faced with serious charges without adequate or timely access to legal

(f) Ongoing, systemic and serious restrictions of freedom of peaceful
assembly and association and freedom of opinion and expression, including those
imposed on the media, Internet users and trade unions, and increasing harassment,
intimidation and persecution of political opponents and human rights defenders
from all sectors of Iranian society, including arrests and violent repression of labour leaders, labour members peacefully assembling and students, noting in particular the forced closure of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre and the subsequent arrest and harassment of a number of its staff;

(g) Severe limitations and restrictions on freedom of religion and belief,
including arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention and lengthy jail sentences for those
exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief;

(h) Persistent failure to uphold due process of law rights, and violation of the
rights of detainees, including defendants held without charge or held incommunicado,
the systematic and arbitrary use of prolonged solitary confinement, and lack of
timely access to legal representation;

3. Also expresses particular concern at the response of the Government of
the Islamic Republic of Iran following the Presidential election of 12 June 2009 and
the concurrent rise in human rights violations including, inter alia:

(a) Harassment, intimidation and persecution, including by arbitrary arrest,
detention or disappearance, of opposition members, journalists and other media
representatives, bloggers, lawyers, clerics, human rights defenders, academics,
students and others exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and association and
freedom of opinion and expression, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries;

(b) Use of violence and intimidation by Government-directed militias to
forcibly disperse Iranian citizens engaged in the peaceful exercise of freedom of
association, also resulting in numerous deaths and injuries;

(c) Interfering in the right to a fair trial by, inter alia, holding mass trials and
denying defendants access to adequate legal representation, resulting in death
sentences and lengthy jail sentences for some individuals;

(d) Reported use of forced confessions and abuse of prisoners including,
inter alia, rape and torture;

(e) Escalation in the rate of executions in the months following the elections;

(f) Further restrictions on freedom of expression, including severe
restrictions on media coverage of public demonstrations and the disruption of
telecommunications and Internet technology and the forcible closure of the offices
of several organizations involved in the investigation of the situation of persons
imprisoned following the election;

(g) Arbitrary arrest and detention of employees of foreign embassies in
Tehran, thereby unduly interfering with the performance of the functions of those
missions in a manner inconsistent with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic
Relations4 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations;5

4. Calls upon the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to address the
substantive concerns highlighted in the report of the Secretary-General and the
specific calls to action found in previous resolutions of the General Assembly, and
to respect fully its human rights obligations, in law and in practice, in particular:

(a) To eliminate, in law and in practice, amputations, flogging and other
forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

(b) To abolish, in law and in practice, public executions and other executions
carried out in the absence of respect for internationally recognized safeguards;

(c) To abolish, pursuant to its obligations under article 37 of the Convention
on the Rights of the Child6 and article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights,2 executions of persons who at the time of their offence were under
the age of 18;

(d) To abolish the use of stoning as a method of execution;

(e) To eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of discrimination and other
human rights violations against women and girls;

(f) To eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of discrimination and other
human rights violations against persons belonging to religious, ethnic, linguistic or
other minorities, recognized or otherwise, to refrain from monitoring individuals on
the basis of their religious beliefs, and to ensure that access of minorities to
education and employment is on par with that of all Iranians;

(g) To implement, inter alia, the 1996 report of the Special Rapporteur on
religious intolerance,7 which recommended ways in which the Islamic Republic of
4 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 500, No. 7310.
5 Ibid., vol. 596, No. 8638.
6 Ibid., vol. 1577, No. 27531.
7 See E/CN.4/1996/95/Add.2.
Iran could emancipate the Baha’i community, and also to accord the seven Baha’i
leaders held since 2008 the due process of law rights they are constitutionally
guaranteed, including the right to adequate legal representation and the right to a
fair trial;

(h) To end the harassment, intimidation and persecution of political
opponents and human rights defenders, students, academics, journalists, other media
representatives, bloggers, clerics and lawyers, including by releasing persons
imprisoned arbitrarily or on the basis of their political views, including those
detained following the Presidential election of 12 June 2009;

(i) To uphold due process of law rights, to end impunity for human rights
violations, and to launch a credible, impartial and independent investigation into the allegations of post-Presidential election human rights violations;

5. Further calls upon the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to
redress its inadequate record of cooperation with international human rights
mechanisms by, inter alia, reporting pursuant to its obligations to the treaty bodies
of the instruments to which it is a party and cooperating fully with all international human rights mechanisms, and encourages the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to continue exploring cooperation on human rights and justice reform with the United Nations, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

6. Expresses deep concern that, despite the Islamic Republic of Iran’s
standing invitation to all thematic special procedures mandate holders, it has not
fulfilled any requests from those special mechanisms to visit the country in four
years and has not answered numerous communications from those special
mechanisms, and strongly urges the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to
fully cooperate with the special mechanisms, including facilitating their visits to its territory, so that credible and independent investigations of all allegations of human rights violations, particularly those arising since 12 June 2009, can be conducted;

7. Invites the thematic special procedures mandate holders to pay particular
attention to the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in particular the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to
freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of
human rights defenders, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Working
Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, with a view to investigating and
reporting on the various human rights violations that have arisen since 12 June

8. Requests the Secretary-General to report to it at its sixty-fifth session on
the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution;

9. Decides to continue its examination of the situation of human rights in
the Islamic Republic of Iran at its sixty-fifth session under the item entitled
“Promotion and protection of human rights”.

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