Archive for the 'Iran' Category

Iran submits UNHRC resolution declaring that sanctions violate human rights

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali KhamActing in its capacity as chair of the largest group of nations at the UN Human Rights Council, the Islamic Republic of Iran has just submitted a resolution that reaffirms the peculiar notion that adoption of sanctions against another country is a violation of human rights and of international law, known in UN-speak as “unilateral coercive measures.”

Earlier this year, the UNHRC’s infamous Consultative Group, with Saudi Arabia’s Faisal Trad then serving merely as Vice-President, successfully picked Algerian hardliner Idriss Jazairy — famous for his efforts as a former diplomat to enact a UNHRC “code of conduct” to intimidate independent human rights experts — as the new “Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures.”

Jazairy has already accused the U.S. and Europe of being leading human rights violators due to their use of sanctions against countries like Iran and Zimbabwe.

Indeed, many of the resolutions adopted at each session of the UNHRC are sponsored by Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Algeria, and other non-democracies, and are designed to demonize the West, free market economies, individual rights, or Israel, as part of a strategy to deflect attention from council members who are guilty of subjugating women, trampling religious freedom, persecuting gays, oppressing ethnic minorities and promoting relgious extremism.

UN’s Yemen statement gives free pass to Saudi & Iranian roles in mass killings

Congratulations to the UN human rights office for the long statement below on the suffering in Yemen that makes only one fleeting mention of the Saudi role, and no mention at all of the Iranian role. Once again, the world’s worst abusers of human rights are given a free pass.


Yemen Briefing Note by Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

21 July 2015

Intense fighting has continued in Yemen, with at least 165 civilians, including 53 children and 23 women, killed between 3 and 15 July. Another 210 were injured during this period. The majority of the casualties are reported to have been caused by air strikes, but civilians are also regularly being injured and killed by mortar fire and in street fighting. The total death toll since 26 March is now at least 1,693 civilians, with another 3,829 injured. Continue reading ‘UN’s Yemen statement gives free pass to Saudi & Iranian roles in mass killings’

Dutch Diplomat Should Be Fired for Defending Iran’s Election to UN Women, Tweeting “Iran’s Not Misogynist”

GENEVA, April 14 – The Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch today called on Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders (see letter below) to fire a senior human rights diplomat for a series of embarrassing tweets defending the election of Iran’s regime to the board of UN Women because, in her words, “Iran is not misogynist,” its “main religious structure was built for a woman,”  and “in [the] metro people stood up for me and gave me all the presents.” Continue reading ‘Dutch Diplomat Should Be Fired for Defending Iran’s Election to UN Women, Tweeting “Iran’s Not Misogynist”’

Rights Group: EU & US Allowed Iran to Win Seat On UN Women’s Rights Board

morality police iran

Ban Ki-moon and EU’s Mogherini must condemn election of Iran to UN women’s rights board

UNITED NATIONS, April 13, 2015 – Out of possible deference to the nuclear talks with Iran, the EU and the US failed to stop the fundamentalist regime from winning a top post on UN Women, the world agency for women’s equality and empowerment, in sharp contrast to the West’s easy defeat of Iran’s 2010 bid by backing an alternative candidate, said UN Watch, the Geneva-based rights group, in a statement today.

“Electing the Iranian regime to the UN women’s rights board is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “The UN’s decision is an insult to all Iranian women and to all women’s rights advocates around the world,” he added. Continue reading ‘Rights Group: EU & US Allowed Iran to Win Seat On UN Women’s Rights Board’

UN reviews Iran’s record

The UN Human Rights Council adopted today the report on Iran’s human rights record. Iran tried to portray a rosy and unreal picture of the situation in the country, supported by several friendly governments. Western democracies and civil society groups made very strong statements to set the record straight.

Human rights violations remain widespread in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Abuses of freedom of expression, women’s rights, the incarceration of human rights defenders and political prisoners, misuse of the death penalty, as well as the poor treatment of religious and national minorities remain flagrant.

Addressing the Council on behalf of Iran, Mr. Kazem Gharib Abadi proclaimed, as inspired by the religious democracy that is founded in Islamic principles rooted in Iran’s religious and cultural heritage, that Iran is “firmly committed to the promotion of human rights,” that “Iran’s approach to human rights is comprehensive,” and “that all citizens, men and women, equally enjoy the protection of the law.”

Multiple countries took the floor to praise Iran offering congratulations on their progress on human rights. Examples include:

  • Nicaragua: “We wish to congratulate Iran for their commitment at the international level for the protection and promotion of human rights.”
  • Pakistan: “We commend the government’s acceptance to many of the recommendations.”
  • Russia: “We commend their interaction with treaty bodies and openness to dialogue, and recommend adopting the report.”
  • Sudan: “We commend that they have accepted the majority of the recommendations.”
  • Sri Lanka: “The progress made is commendable.”
  • Venezuela: “We wish to express satisfaction of the government’s implementation of the MDG’s, evidence of their commitment to fundamental rights.” They also highlighted that, “The implementation of sanctions is a violation of the basic rights of the people of Iran.”

However, The United Kingdom expressed concern with “the sharp increase in the use of the death penalty,” and other ongoing violations.  Similarly, The United States renewed their “call on Iran to end the harassment and persecution of journalists and demonstrate its commitment to freedom of expression,” and to “uphold its religious freedom commitments and obligations and to release those imprisoned for religious beliefs.”

Finally, civil society organizations painted a grave picture; highlighting that same sex relations are still punishable by death, that Baha’i’s remain without basic citizenship rights let alone religious freedom, that legislative change has not been upheld in practice, that there is continued denial of due process, and that the death penalty remains a common prescription for political dissidents and religious minorities.



UN’s Iran monitor calls out Tehran abuses, names victims, in damning 81-page report

ahmedshaheedUN Watch has obtained a copy of the advanced unedited version of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed: click here for PDF.

The 81-page report details gross and systematic abuses of human rights by the Iranian regime, and lists the names of victims and the details of Tehran’s  violations. Continue reading ‘UN’s Iran monitor calls out Tehran abuses, names victims, in damning 81-page report’

UN: Iran discriminates against women


morality police iran
The 2015 report on Iran’s human rights record by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon finds that the government commits gross and systematic discrimination against women.

Among the findings:

  • “According to the Global Gender Gap Index for 2014 of the World Economic Forum, the Islamic Republic of Iran ranked no. 137 out of 142 countries.”
  • “women only account for 16 per cent of the labour force”
  • “men earn 4.8 times more than women”
  • “With regard to women in ministerial positions, the Index ranked the Islamic Republic of Iran no. 105 out of 142 countries, and there are few women in managerial or decision-making roles – despite the emphasis that article 3 of the Charter of Women’s Rights and Responsibilities in the Islamic Republic of Iran places on the right of women to equal wages, privileges and work conditions.”

Continue reading ‘UN: Iran discriminates against women’

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.


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.  Continue reading ‘New fact-finding mission: UN expert to probe human rights in Iran through diaspora in Europe’

Cuba, Russia, Iran offer lessons of democracy, while attacking US

A workshop took place at the United Nations office in Geneva today on the so-called “unilateral coercive measures.” In UN-lingo this means Cuba’s efforts to attack the US and its embargo, under the guise of human rights. So no wonder that today’s proceedings were marred by extreme anti-American and anti-Western statements.

Indeed the anti-American discourse started with Cuba accusing the US of “genocide,” among other things. “The US blockade is the main obstacle to the economic development of Cuba and the main violation of human rights.” Of course, there was no mention of the one-party dictatorship that has ruled the island for decades now with no respect for civil and political rights. The Cuban diplomats added that the embargo “is an act of genocide and causes suffering to the people.”

Russia was soon to follow. It said it is “convinced that instead of such ineffective approaches, that only show the weakness of the countries imposing them, dialogue and cooperation should prevail.” In a lesson intended for the West, Russia said that such measures are “anti-democratic by their very nature.”

Jean Ziegler would not be absent from such an anti-American fest. This UN “human rights expert,” founder and recipient of the “Moammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize,” is known for his close ties with the Castro regime. So it did not come as a surprise to anyone that he presented a study on “mechanisms to assess the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights and to promote accountability.”

For this report, the UN had sent questionnaires to all UN member-states. The best responder? The Islamic Republic of Iran. According to Ziegler, “Iran has given extraordinary detail and clear figures. We are very grateful to Iran’s UN Mission for their reply.”

Iran rejects ‘baseless accusations’ by U.S. envoy Samantha Power

Following protests by UN Watch and then the U.S. Mission about the UN’s despicable election of Iran to two human rights committees, the fundamentalist regime has fired back. The Iranian statement follows below.

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

24 April 2014

Press Release

The Islamic Republic of Iran categorically rejects baseless accusations raised in the statement of U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations regarding status of human rights and civil liberties in the Islamic Republic of Iran and find these assertions both unconstructive, obstructive and against the spirit of cooperation between sovereign member states and the principles of sovereign equality of states.

In the past decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran has routinely adopted effective and constructive approach in relation to all multilateral issues within the framework of the UN as well as its bilateral relationship with other states.

Civil society and thousands of NGOs are actively pursuing their goals in different areas such as social, economic, environmental, political, women and human rights, etc in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Against this backdrop, It is obvious that Iran’s active presence in UN bodies will be helpful and serve the attainment of non-governmental organization objectives.

h/t Jonathan Wachtel

Potkin Azarmehr at the 2014 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

Potkin Azarmehr pic

Iranian journalist and activist, Potkin Azarmehr, spoke on Iran’s state-controlled media at the 6th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

Full speech below at 02:13:19 minute mark:


  • “The reason that state TV is such a high priority for authoritarian states is because they want to control information.”
  • “We have to stand up against the lies of authoritarian states around the world.  They may have the budget for propaganda, but we have the truth on our side.”

Naghmeh Abedini at the 2014 Geneva Summit for Human Rights

Nagmeh Abedini pic

Nagmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned Iranian pastor, Saeed Abedini, spoke against the oppression of religious freedom in Iran at the  6th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

The full speech is available on video here (at 02:54:13 minute mark):


China & Cuba elected to oversee UN democracy-building


Dictatorships China and Cuba just took their new seats on the Executive Board of UNDP, whose stated priority is “Building democratic societies.” The tyrannies will help oversee UN democracy promotion through 2016.

Iran’s murderous and misogynistic  regime is already a member, and will continue helping UNDP to “Empower women” through 2015.

Below: Watch Chinese dissident Yang Jianli and Cuban dissident Rosa Maria Paya oppose their countries’ election to the UN Human Rights Council.

Human Rights Panel at Vienna Diplomatic Academy

UN Watch in partnership with UN Women (National Committee, Austria), the Vienna NGO Committee on the Status of Women and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna recently held a human rights conference featuring dissidents from Cuba, Iran, and Mauritania. The event, which took place on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, was covered by the Austrian Press Agency , upon which is based the  following article. (Original German here.)

UN Watch human rights conference at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna

UN Watch’s Vienna Diplomatic Academy human rights conference featuring dissidents Abidine Merzough of Mauritania (far left), Marina Nemat of Iran (second from right), and Rosa Maria Paya of Cuba (far right). Moderated by Marta Halpert (second from left).

Marina Nemat: “Tehran’s leadership is a sheep in wolf’s clothing” 

Three dissidents and women’s rights activists from Iran, Mauritania and Cuba paint dreary picture of home

VIENNA, November 26, 2013 – Iranian human rights activist and author Marina Nemat has little confidence in the new president Hassan Rouhani, who she fears the West considers to be moderate and conciliatory, especially after the recent agreement in the nuclear dispute.

“The Iranian leadership is trying to show a moderate face,” Nemat said Monday night at a human rights panel organized by Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch.  The panel, “Three dissidents, three states,” took place during the UN’s annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The Tehran leadership wants the international community to lift sanctions to ease suffering of the Iranian people, Nemat said, but “a change must come from within.”

Continue reading ‘Human Rights Panel at Vienna Diplomatic Academy’

Texts of draft UNGA resolutions on Iran, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar

Following are the full texts of the draft resolutions on human rights situations that are to be voted on later this month by the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee:
  1. A/C.3/68/L.42 – Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic
  2. A/C.3/68/L.55 – Situation of human rights in Myanmar
  3. A/C.3/68/L.56 – Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  4. A/C.3/68/L.57 – Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

UN hide carving of naked man ahead of Iran nuclear talks, “kowtowing to fundamentalist regime”

Photo: Alain Jourdan of the Tribune de Geneve

GENEVA, October 14 – The independent non-governmental monitoring group UN Watch today called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to order the removal of a curtain recently placed over an historic marble carving at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva, and to “stop this dangerous kowtowing to Iran’s fundamentalist regime.” (See AFP story below.)

“This is a very dangerous and slippery slope,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based watchdog group. Today the UN is covering up the artistic heritage of its most famous building, Geneva’s historic Palais des Nations, to appease the intolerance of a fundamentalist regime that subjugates women, executes gays, and persecutes Bahais; what will the UN hide tomorrow?”,

“Will the UN, in deference to Iran’s nuclear negotiators, cover up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose principles of religious freedom, political liberty, and equality also offend the Iranian regime?”

“Will the UN, in deference to Iran’s sensibilities, cover up the name of the adjacent Rene Cassin Square, dedicated to the architect of the Universal Declaration who also championed Israel’s right to defend itself during the Six Day War of 1967?”

The marble relief, called “The Creation of Man”, was donated by Britain to the UN’s forerunner the League of Nations in 1938. (AFP) Continue reading ‘UN hide carving of naked man ahead of Iran nuclear talks, “kowtowing to fundamentalist regime”’

AP reporter asks UN on Iran based on UN Watch release

Daily Press Briefing of the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, August 2, 2013

Edith Lederer (chief correspondent for the Associated Press at the United Nations): I was wondering whether the Secretary-General has any response to this request by UN Watch… by this Geneva-based human rights group, who said that it sent a letter to the Secretary-General and to Navi Pillay condemning the incoming Iranian President’s statement, describing Israel as an old wound that should be removed and asking the Deputy Secretary-General to cancel plans to attend Hassan Rouhani’s Sunday inauguration.

UN Spokesperson: Well, on the last bit, the Deputy Secretary-General never intended to attend the inauguration. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, will be attending, on the Secretary-General’s instructions, the inauguration; and so that’s the first part. I will need to check whether a letter has been received. You’re telling me about it now and you almost seem to be out of breath so it must be hot off the presses, so I don’t have anything to say at the moment.

[The Spokesperson later added that, according to the established practice regarding formation of new Governments, the Secretary-General will be also sending a congratulatory letter to President Rouhani following his swearing-in on 4 August. The letter is expected to reiterate the Secretary-General’s willingness to work with the new Iranian President and his Government on issues of importance to Iran and the international community, and urge Iran to play a constructive role in regional and international affairs. The Secretary-General looks forward to meeting with President Rouhani should he decide to participate in the forthcoming general debate.]

Iran’s Rouhani must be condemned by UN for today’s “ugly incitement”

GENEVA, August 2 — A Geneva-based human rights group urged UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the world body’s human rights commissioner Navi Pillay to immediately condemn the Iranian regime’s incitement to religious hatred in describing Israel today as “a sore” that “has been sitting on the body of the Islamic world for many years.” (Source: updated NYT translation.)

Hassan Rouhani’s comments came amid a massive festival of hate organized by the Tehran regime today.

Outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned, “with God as my witness,” that a regional storm was brewing that would “uproot” Israel. Ahmadinejad said Israel “has no place in this region,” provoking chants of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” from the crowd.

UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization, also called on top UN official Jan Eliasson and former EU foreign minister Javier Solana to cancel their reported plans to attend Rouhani’s Sunday inauguration.

“It is urgent for leaders of the United Nations and especially its human rights officials to make it crystal clear to Iran’s regime that threatening a UN member state’s existence — and inciting masses to base hatred against another people — is not only offensive and inflammatory, it’s a gross breach of the UN’s charter and core human rights conventions,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

“We urge Mr. Ban to remind Rouhani, just as he told his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year, that the UN charter obliges all member states to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. Taken together, the statements of both leaders today amount to an illegal threat under international law against Israel’s right to exist.”

“Given Rouhani’s ugly incitement today, it is vital that no UN or EU official dare risk granting legitimacy to such expressions of hatred and aggression by now participating in his inauguration.”

“We also call upon the democracies of Brazil, India and South Africa, which are leading members of the 120-strong Non-Aligned Movement, to condemn Iran and demand that it be removed from its position as chair of the influential UN voting bloc.”

Iran: U.S. holding “hostage” UN disarmament conf by boycotting Iran’s presidency

Regime: Iran is a “victim of weapons of mass destruction”

Last week, UN Watch revealed that Iran is to head the UN Conference on Disarmament and called on nations to protest. The USA and Canada announced they would bar their ambassadors from attending. Now Iran is on the defensive. Below is a BBC summary of an Iranian news report.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Araqchi has said that the United States is preventing the advancement of peace and security, accusing the USA of holding “hostage” a UN conference on disarmament with its threats of a boycott, Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported on 16 May.

“With its behaviour, America has in effect taken hostage the conference and is preventing it from working towards the advancement of international peace and security,” ISNA quoted Araqchi as commenting on US threats to boycott a UN disarmament conference because Iran would be chairing it.

“America’s behaviour goes against the democratic vote of member countries and the mechanism of international institutions for electing the chair [of a conference], and in other words it goes against the will of global society,” Araqchi added.

Seyyed Abbas Araqchi went on to emphasize that Iran was suited for the chairmanship of the conference, saying that Iran understands the importance of disarmament as it is a “victim of weapons of mass destruction”. Continue reading ‘Iran: U.S. holding “hostage” UN disarmament conf by boycotting Iran’s presidency’

US & Canada to boycott UN disarmament talks during Iran presidency; France, Germany, UK should follow

GENEVA, May 14, 2013 – UN Watch commends the U.S. and Canada for strongly protesting Iran’s looming presidency of the UN disarmament conference and  announcing (see below) that their ambassadors will  boycott the session during Tehran’s five weeks at the helm.

The decisions by Washington and Ottawa came in response to UN Watch’s call for action yesterday.

UN Watch once again calls on the EU, and particularly, Britain, France, and Germany, to protest as well.

Continue reading ‘US & Canada to boycott UN disarmament talks during Iran presidency; France, Germany, UK should follow’

Iran to chair U.N. disarmament conference

Exclusive Report by UN Watch

GENEVA, May 13, 2013 – Iran will chair the United Nations’ most important disarmament negotiating forum during the panel’s May session, which opened today, sparking calls by an independent monitoring group for the U.S., the EU, and UN chief Ban Ki-moon to protest. Click here for UN website.

“This is like putting Jack the Ripper in charge of a women’s shelter,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, the Geneva based non-governmental organization, which announced it will hold protest events outside the UN hall featuring Iranian dissidents.

“Iran is an international outlaw state that illegally supplies rockets to Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas, aiding and abetting mass murder and terrorism. To make this rogue regime head of world arms control is simply an outrage. Abusers of international norms should not be the public face of the UN.” Continue reading ‘Iran to chair U.N. disarmament conference’

UN hijacked by Cuba’s “Right to peace” farce

This week the UN was diverted from real human rights problems for a week-long political exercise on the so-called “right to peace.”

Last July, Cuba presented a draft resolution on “The Right to Peace,” which recognized a “right to resist and oppose oppressive colonial foreign occupation or dictatorial domination.” We commented on it in this plenary speech:

According to experts, this could be seen as an avenue to legitimize terrorism. Countries such as Syria, Sudan, Belarus, China, Sri Lanka, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, supported the resolution, while countries such as the United States and the European Union did not. As the EU stated, they do not support the formation of the working group for many reasons including, but not limited to the fact that, “it is evident that there is no legal basis for the ‘right to peace’ in international law, either as an individual or collective right.”

Continue reading ‘UN hijacked by Cuba’s “Right to peace” farce’

UN Seminar on “International Cooperation”

On Friday, February 15, 2013, the OHCHR held a seminar on “International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights.” The seminar was called for by a HRC resolution tabled by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). It was yet another opportunity for oppresive regimes to attack Western democracies and the universal nature of human rights.

Iran, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, reinforced the idea that cultural diversity was essential for human rights. “Countries should be allowed to protect human rights while taking into account their own national conditions.” Furthermore, it argued “It is not practical or feasible for all countries to adopt the same model.”

During the Q&A period, Iran raised the issue of sanctions as an impediment to the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, hinting that the rights of Iranians were violated as a result of international sanctions. The Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran due to their non-cooperation with UN mechanisms which monitor their nuclear program.

Cuba stated that it was a shining example of the progress that can be made in the field of human rights with meager resources. The Cuban diplomat explained that measures to strengthen cooperation in the international arena have failed, due to the “politicization and manipulation of human rights mechanisms.” He said that they had hoped that the Human Rights Council would be a “new dawn,” but that it has followed the same failed destiny of the Commission on Human Rights. The Cuban diplomat concluded by expressing his dismay that things have not changed since the days of the Human Rights Commission.

U.N. slams Iran human rights violations in Canadian-led resolution

Today’s resolution on “the Situation of Human Rights in Iran” passed the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee by a vote of 83 to 31, with 68 abstaining.

This is the 10th year that Canada led this now-annual resolution, along with 42 other state co-sponsors. The resolution will proceed to the UN General Assembly Plenary for consideration, where it typically receives a similar voting result.

Here is the full text: UNGA Iran res Nov 2012; at bottom are selected quotes.

Canada’s leading position today in fighting Iranian abuses is partly due to the work in that country of Iranian-born human rights activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam, whose compelling 2009 U.N. testimony follows below.


Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran Continue reading ‘U.N. slams Iran human rights violations in Canadian-led resolution’

UN rights council criticized for featuring allegedly corrupt official on today’s Nelson Mandela Day panel

Australian WIPO chief Francis Gurry is accused of vote-buying,
embargoed tech transfers to Iran and North Korea, and obstructing U.S. congressional inquiry

GENEVA, Sept. 21 – The participation of the UN’s top intellectual property official on today’s Human Rights Council panel for Nelson Mandela International Day is being criticized by UN Watch in light of revelations that his agency shipped embargoed technology to North Korea and Iran, and accusations of misconduct including vote-buying, as reported by Reuters.

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental watchdog organization, called on the U.S., the EU and UN rights chief Navi Pillay to explain why Francis Gurry, the Australian head of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), is speaking this afternoon on a panel dedicated to human rights and Nelson Mandela’s values.

Panelists are to provide examples of “how the promotion and protection of human rights has been advanced by the values of reconciliation, peace, freedom and racial equality in their societies or personal experiences.”

Yet Neuer said the credibility of the council — which annually passes resolutions condemning abuses by Iran and North Korea — is now harmed by inviting the WIPO chief.

bipartisan letter from the U.S. Congress, signed by House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ranking Member Howard Berman, accuses Gurry of obstructing potentially damning testimony by WIPO staffers regarding the agency’s quiet transfer of U.N.-embargoed technology to North Korea and Iran, which could advance those regimes’ nuclear and missile programs.

Gurry is accused of breaching his pledge to cooperate with a Congressional inquiry into whether the agency’s actions had violated U.S. and U.N. sanctions.

Moreover, as reported by Reuters, Gurry is also accused of pledging the equipment to the two sanctioned countries in exchange for their votes, according to a U.N. lawsuit filed by a former WIPO manager.

The suit also alleges Gurry earmarked posts for member states who backed him in his 2008 election and those whose votes he is trying to secure as part of his 2014 re-election bid.

Two investigators who conducted an internal WIPO inquiry into the shipments said: “We simply cannot fathom how WIPO could have convinced itself that most Member States would support the delivery of equipment to countries whose behavior was so egregious it forced the international community to impose embargoes, and where the deliveries, if initiated by the recipient countries, would violate a Member State’s national Laws.”

U.N. chief sending ‘wrong signal’ going to Tehran’s NAM summit

Iran will now speak for 120-strong NAM during U.N. debates

Rights group urges Ban Ki-moon to bring with him UN resolutions on Iranian human rights violations

GENEVA, Aug. 22 – Human rights activists are slamming U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon for announcing his attendance at next week’s Tehran summit of the 120-member Non Aligned Movement “on the same day that the Security Council heard a top-level U.N. report on Iranian complicity in the Syrian regime’s murder of its own people, in violation of resolution 1747 passed under the organization’s highest Chapter 7 authority.”

“By going to Tehran’s propaganda summit, the U.N. Secretary-General is abdicating his moral voice at a crucial time, and sending absolutely the wrong signal,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, an independent human rights organization which has brought Ahmad Batebi, Mohammed Mostafeh, Nazanin Afshin-Jam and other top Iranian dissidents to testify before the UN. Continue reading ‘U.N. chief sending ‘wrong signal’ going to Tehran’s NAM summit’

UN Watch: Iran elected to UN Arms Trade Treaty post

Human rights group urge Ban Ki-moon to condemn “scandalous” election

GENEVA, July 8 – Iran was elected to a top post on the UN Arms Trade Treaty conference, revealed UN Watch today in an exclusive report. The Geneva-based human rights group is calling on UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who addressed the conference on the same day, to condemn the selection of the Tehran regime.

Although the U.N. conference website and summary fail to name the 15 members elected to the bureau on July 3rd, UN Watch has discovered that the countries elected to the five regional groups include Iran, Japan, and South Korea for the Asian group; Kenya, Egypt and Nigeria for Africa; Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Ukraine for Eastern Europe; Australia, Netherlands and Switzerland for the Western Europe & Others Group; and Mexico and two others for Latin America. (See U.N. webcast here, announcing election of Iran at minute 4:45.)

The United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, which opened last week and runs until July 27, promises to deliver a new agreement to regulate the transfer of arms.

“Right after a UN Security Council report found Iran guilty of illegally transferring guns and bombs to Syria, which is now murdering thousands of its own people, it defies logic, morality and common sense for the UN to now elect this same regime to a global post regulating the transfer of guns and bombs,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental monitoring group based in Geneva.

“This is like choosing Bernie Madoff to police fraud on the stock market. And the U.N.’s scandalous choice of Iran is exactly why we fear that Syria’s declared bid for a U.N. Human Rights Council seat is not impossible.” Continue reading ‘UN Watch: Iran elected to UN Arms Trade Treaty post’

Iran, Racism and the Non-Aligned Movement

UN Watch testimony delivered by Hillel Neuer before
the U.N. Human Rights Council, July 3, 2012

Thank you, Madam President.

UN Watch was founded by Morris Abram, the legendary civil rights advocate who marched arm-in-arm with Rev. Martin Luther King to fight racism in America. His struggle against prejudice in all its forms continues to guide our work.

As I look around this room, I see many representatives from the Non-Aligned Movement whose peoples were victimized by racism under colonial rule.

The ghastly atrocities perpetrated against millions of Congolese by Belgian King Leopold II is but one of many examples from that sordid history. NAM members know the consequences of racism and discrimination. Continue reading ‘Iran, Racism and the Non-Aligned Movement’

Is Syrian ambassador to UN rights council planning to defect?

Tomorrow will see Foreign Ministers descend on Geneva for the opening of the first 2012 session of the UN Human Rights Council.

At a recent UN press conference, U.S. Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe offered a good review of what’s ahead. Click here for the transcript, and here for the audio. Reuters asked about UN Watch’s protest over Libya’s vehement attack against gays (minute 16:00).

Of note:

  • The Syrian envoy to the UN rights council,  Faysal Hamoui, hasn’t been seen in a while, and, alluding to the Libyans’ defection last year, Ambassador Donahoe hinted that he may be planning the same:

Continue reading ‘Is Syrian ambassador to UN rights council planning to defect?’

Iran Censorship Extends to Golden Globes Stage

The contrast couldn’t have been any clearer at the Golden Globe Awards ceremony Sunday when it came to presenting the prize for Best Foreign Language Film.

Host Ricky Gervais’s irreverence for authority, and Madonna’s unrestrained immodesty were – for better or for worse – testaments to the universal right to express oneself freely.

Then came the solemnity of Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s acceptance speech after Madonna announced that his film “A Separation,” which he made in Iran and is still showing there, had won the category. Continue reading ‘Iran Censorship Extends to Golden Globes Stage’

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