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New UN Special Rapporteur on Iran calls on the Government for full co-operation with his mandate

GENEVA (3 August 2011) – The new United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, appealed to the Iranian government to extend its full co-operation with his mandate as required by the UN Human Rights Council.

“It is my hope that the Iranian authorities will view my mandate as a secure and legitimate space in which to take steps to comply with its international human rights obligations, as well as an opportunity to address the areas of concern communicated to Iran during its interactions with the international community on human rights issues,” Mr. Shaheed said on the first day of his mandate.

The former Foreign Minister of the Maldives also underscored his firm belief that the establishment of the new mandate “provides an opportunity for Iran to engage on a range of human rights issues that have been raised by the international community.”

“I issued a written communication to the Iranian authorities to introduce myself and express my interest in visiting the country,” Mr. Shaheed said. “My first report shall be submitted to the sixty-sixth session of General Assembly, and I have sought meetings with the Iranian Ambassador to the UN Offices in Geneva ahead of that date to discuss a platform for cooperation in the months ahead.”

The Special Rapporteur is seeking cooperation of the Iranian authorities in the interest of fair and accurate reporting on its human rights situation, and developing constructive engagement between Iran and the UN human rights machinery. Mr. Shaheed will also work closely with Iranian civil society and human rights defenders, in accordance with the code of conduct for Special Procedure mandate holders.

“Every effort shall be made to demonstrate both the steps that the Iranian authorities can take to comply with Iran’s international obligations, as well as to draw attention to the grievances of those who feel victimized by alleged human rights violations,” Mr. Shaheed stressed.

Ahmed Shaheed 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 has worked to improve the Maldives’ compliance with the core human rights Conventions and its Treaty Body reporting obligations. Mr Shaheed opened the Permanent Mission of the Maldives in Geneva in 2006 to engage with the Human Rights Council. He also established a non-governmental organisation in the area of human rights in the Maldives. On 17 June 2011, the President of the Human Rights Council appointed Mr Shaheed, as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. He commenced his duties officially on 1 August 2011.

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

For additional information and press inquiries, please contact Naveed Ahmed (Tel. +41 22 928 9477 / email: nahmed@ohchr.org) or Rose Parris Richter (Tel. +1 917 226 4551/ email: srhumanrights@gmail.com)

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