In a statement released on Wednesday, Amnesty International called on the international community to publicly condemn the deterioration in Iran’s human rights record during the country’s upcoming review session at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 8 November.
The organization urged states taking part in Iran’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to denounce the widespread human rights violations and make concrete recommendations for the Iranian authorities to address them.
“From horrific execution rates, to the relentless persecution of human rights defenders, rampant discrimination against women and minorities, and ongoing crimes against humanity, the catalogue of appalling violations recorded in Iran reveals a sharp deterioration in its human rights record,” Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther, said.
“Iran’s upcoming UN human rights review session offers a crucial opportunity for the international community to send a strong and clear message to the Iranian authorities that its shocking disregard for human rights will not be tolerated,” Luther asserted.
Amnesty International also stated: “It is also an opportunity for states to place increased attention on the ongoing enforced disappearance of thousands of political dissidents over the past three decades, a crime against humanity which has been overlooked for far too long by the international community.”
“Thousands of people have been rounded up for expressing their views or taking part in peaceful demonstrations and a vindictive crackdown has been launched against human rights defenders, including activists campaigning against forced veiling laws, in order to destroy the last vestiges of Iran’s civil society.”
“The authorities have further eroded fair trial rights and have executed more than 2,500 people, including juvenile offenders, in blatant violation of international law.”
In a submission to the UN Human Rights Council ahead of the session, Amnesty International concluded that Iran is “failing on all fronts” when it comes to human rights.
The organization called on the Iranian authorities to lift restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, end discrimination against women and minorities, impose an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty, and end torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials and ongoing crimes against humanity.
Iran rejected calls during its last UPR to protect the rights of human rights defenders, stop their harassment and release those imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.
Those unjustly imprisoned include journalists, artists and human rights defenders including lawyers, women’s rights defenders, minority rights activists, labour rights activists, environmental activists and those seeking truth, justice and reparations for the 1988 prison massacre.
Among the human rights lawyers who have been targeted are Amirsalar Davoudi and Nasrin Sotoudeh who have been given shockingly harsh prison sentences.
“The Iranian authorities must reverse the catastrophic deterioration of their human rights record,” said Philip Luther.
“That means releasing prisoners of conscience, ending the persecution of human rights defenders, granting defendants the right to a fair trial and putting an end to their grotesque use of the death penalty by establishing an immediate moratorium with a view to abolishing it completely.
“It also means immediately disclosing the truth regarding the fate of victims of the 1988 massacres, stopping the destruction of mass grave sites containing the remains of the victims, and bringing to justice those suspected to be responsible for these crimes against humanity.”