UN rights council appoints investigator for Iran

Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council

A special investigator has been appointed by the Human Rights Council in Geneva to look into abuses committed by the regime in Iran. The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern amongst other things about the number of alleged executions and arbitrary arrests. Jocelyne Sambira reports.

NARRATOR: The UN is increasingly concerned with Iran using the death penalty despite repeated calls for the executions to be halted. At least 100 people have been executed this year for various offences ranging from drug trafficking to political activism. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is particularly worried about the intensified crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists, and critics of the government. Faced with a deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, 22 Council members voted to appoint a special investigator. Seven opposed the vote, while 14 countries abstained. The Council says it regrets Iran’s refusal to cooperate over ongoing human rights abuses in the country.

U.S. Ambassador Eileen Donahoe sits on the Human Rights Council in Geneva:

Donahoe: “The passage of this resolution will mark the first new country mandate established since the creation of the human rights council in 2006. We are pleased that the Council is poised to take this critical step and that the international community will do so in the case of Iran letting the victims of abuses there know the world has not forgotten them.”

NARRATOR: Iranian envoy, Seyed Mohammad Reza Sajjadi rejected accusations from the Council that his country was not committed to promoting human rights.

Sajjadi: “The Islamic republic of Iran has extended invitation to human rights rapporteurs and received rapporteurs on 6 different occasions. My country has already extended an official invitation to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Iran this year and we are working together with the office to make the visit a successful tour for enhancing meaningful cooperation with relevant human rights machinery.’

NARRATOR: Ambassador Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo of Brazil says Iran had made progress but it has  fallen back on its promise to cooperate with Council.

Azevedo: “Since late 2005 however, and despite requests made in this regard by mandate holders, no visits have taken place in that country. While Brazil recognizes the readiness of the Iranian authorities, we consider this resolution a reflection of a shared assessment that the human rights situation in Iran deserves the attention of the council.”

NARRATOR: Brazil’s envoy has encouraged Iran to observe the moratorium of the death penalty. She has also asked the sponsors of the initiative- meaning the United States and Sweden- to apply the same standards to other countries.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

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