New fact-finding mission: UN expert to probe human rights in Iran through diaspora in Europe

If only more of the UN did good work like this.

UN PRESS RELEASE

New fact-finding mission: UN expert to probe human rights in Iran through diaspora in Europe

GENEVA (26 May 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, will undertake his latest fact-finding mission in Sweden, Austria, and Italy, which host significant Iranian diaspora populations.

From 27 May to 6 June 2014, the independent expert will gather information about the recent experiences of victims of alleged human rights violations in Iran, and will meet with relevant experts and officials in order to asses current reports coming from Iran. 

“While I am encouraged by recent conversations, statements, and overtures by Iranian officials, I am concerned by consistent reports that the human rights situation on the ground has yet to improve, and that pledges have simply not translated into results,” Mr. Shaheed underscored. 

“The mission, therefore, will provide an opportunity to accurately evaluate and analyze recent progress, or lack of it, through conversations with individuals with diverse backgrounds and opinions,” he said.

During his ten-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with and interview members of the Iranian diaspora and other members of Iranian civil society, including journalists, student activists, lawyers, authors, publishers, proponents of minority, women’s, and children’s rights. He will also meet with relevant NGOs and Government officials in Sweden, Austria, and Italy. 

Mr. Shaheed’s most recent findings on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran will be brought to the attention of the Government of Iran and to the member states of the UN General Assembly during its 69th Session, later this year. 

The Special Rapporteur restated his commitment to constructive dialogue and cooperation as a means of addressing and resolving human rights concerns in Iran. He noted that the upcoming assessment of Iran’s human rights record by other States during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) represents a potential major opportunity in this regard.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has often stressed the importance of the UPR process as a universal and impartial mechanism for the evaluation and discussion of human rights situations the world-over,” the independent expert noted.

“I truly hope that the Government will use this opportunity to genuinely reflect on its human rights record over the past four years, and, in the spirit of cooperation, to engage in frank discussion with its peers at the United Nations with a view toward prompt and quantifiable improvement,” Mr. Shaheed said.

Since his appointment in August 2011, the Special Rapporteur has issued three reports to the UN General Assembly and three additional reports to the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Iran. 

Mr. Shaheed has made several official requests to the Government of Iran for a country visit since his appointment without obtaining an affirmative response. He continues to call on the Iranian authorities to cooperate with his UN Human Rights Council mandate with a view to addressing its human rights challenges. 

ENDS

Ahmed Shaheed (the Maldives) is a Visiting Professor at Essex University, UK; a former member of the Maldivian presidential Commission Investigating Corruption; and a foreign policy advisor to the President of the Maldives. Mr Shaheed was Foreign Minister of the Maldives from 2005 to 2007 and from 2008 to 2010. He led the country’s efforts to sign and ratify all nine international human rights Conventions and to implement them in law and practice. He was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran in June 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/IRIndex.aspx

OHCHR Country Page – Iran: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/IRIndex.aspx  

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