GENEVA (31 August 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, Asma Jahangir, today expressed her deep concern about the situation of a number of prisoners who have been on prolonged hunger strike to protest against their transfer to a high-security section of Rajai-Shahr prison in Karaj, West of Tehran, and about their treatment while in detention.
“I am deeply alarmed by reports about the deteriorating medical conditions of the prisoners on hunger strike, and that their torture and ill-treatment have continued since their transfer,” Ms. Jahangir said.
Over the past few weeks, 53 prisoners, including more than 15 Baha’is, were transferred without prior notice and without being informed of the reasons for their transfer. None of them was allowed to take their personal belongings, including their medicines. They have also reportedly been deprived of hygiene products, adequate clothing, adequate medical care and food they purchased with their own money.
“Depriving prisoners of having family contact, lawyers and adequate medical care is contrary to international law,” the rights expert said.
“I urge the Government of Iran to look for a prompt solution to the extreme situation created by the hunger strike through good faith dialogue about the grievances and underlying human rights violations, ensuring full respect for their dignity and autonomy,” the expert concluded.
This statement has been endorsed by the Special Rapporteurs on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Dainius Pûras, and on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed.
Ms. Asma Jahangir (Pakistan) was designated as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Human Rights Council in September 2016 Ms. Jahangir was elected as President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and as Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Over the years, she has been recognized both nationally and internationally for her contribution to the cause of human rights and is a recipient of major human rights awards. She has worked extensively in the field of women’s rights, protection of religious minorities and in eliminating bonded labour. She is a former Special Rapporteur on summary executions, and on freedom of religion.
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.