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UN expert in second mission to probe human rights in Iran through diaspora in Europe

GENEVA (9 November 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, will launch his second fact-finding mission to three European countries which host Iranian diaspora. Mr. Shaheed will visit Germany, Sweden and Norway from 11 to 22 November 2012 to gather information about alleged human rights violations in Iran.

The human rights expert has made several official requests to the Government of Iran for a country visit since his appointment in August 2011 without obtaining an affirmative response. He has repeatedly urged the Iranian authorities to collaborate with his UN Human Rights Council mandate with a view to addressing its human rights challenges.

“While I continue to hope for cooperation with the government, my experience has also demonstrated that one of the most important aspects of this mandate is to give voice to those that believe themselves to be silenced by fear and lack of recourse,” Mr. Shaheed said.
The Special Rapporteur will meet with victims to investigate allegations of torture, intimidation of human rights defenders, lawyers, and journalists, and discrimination against women, ethnic and religious minorities.

“I have received numerous reports that continue to convey alarming allegations about the current human rights situation in Iran,” the rights expert said. “I intend to gather additional information from Iranians who can corroborate these allegations during my visit to Germany, Sweden and Norway.”

The human rights expert will hold a press conference on 22 November at 12:00 at the United Nations Association of Norway office in Oslo.

“The information collected during these visits will contribute to my report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2013,” the Special Rapporteur said.

Ahmed Shaheed (the Maldives) is a Visiting Lecturer at the Maldives National University, a member of the presidential Commission Investigating Corruption and a former 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.

Check Mr. Shaheed’s latest report to the UN General Assembly: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N12/508/13/PDF/N1250813.pdf?OpenElement or http://www.un.org/en/ga/third/67/documentslist.shtml

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

For additional information and media inquiries, please contact:
Torbjørn Urfjell, Head of Communication, UN Association of Norway (+47 901 81 476 / Torbjorn.urfjell@fn.no)
Árni Snævarr, UNRIC (+32 4 97458088 / snaevarr@unric.org)
Naveed Ahmed, OHCHR (+41 79 444 3707 / nahmed@ohchr.org) or write to sr-iran@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en