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Current situation in Iran remains of serious concern, human rights expert tells the UN General Assembly

NEW YORK / GENEVA (29 October 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, raised a wide range of concerns about the human rights situation in the country in his latest report* to the UN General Assembly.

“The current situation remains of serious concern notwithstanding some recent advances by the Iranian Government and Parliament,” Mr. Shaheed said. “It is incumbent upon all of us to remain steadfast in our commitment to work with the Government to remedy the problems highlighted by the various UN human rights mechanisms.”

The human rights expert drew special attention to a surge in executions of individuals in Iran for crimes that are not recognized as capital offenses under international law, as well as reports of torture, and draft laws that appear to further undermine the rights to freedom of expression and association, and women’s rights.

The report, which assesses developments in the human rights situation in Iran since the UN expert last reported to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2014, covers human rights issues such as the humanitarian impact of sanctions, deteriorating environmental conditions, and violations on the freedom of religion.

Mr. Shaheed noted that the Iranian government has recently taken positive steps to engage with him and that he has observed promising efforts and developments that can contribute to addressing international and national concerns. “We must continue to recognize and encourage these steps,” he said.

“But we must also stress the need for the Iranian government to make deep and enduring strides towards rectifying violations of fundamental human rights, which are rooted in law and practice so that all Iranians can enjoy rights guaranteed by national and international laws,” the Special Rapporteur stressed.

(*) Check the full report to the UN General Assembly (A/69/356): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/newyork/Pages/HRreportstothe69thsessionGA.aspx

Mr Ahmed Shaheed (the Maldives) is 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, and led the country’s efforts to sign and ratify all nine international human rights Conventions. He is the Chairperson of the human rights think tank Board of the Universal Rights Group. In addition, Mr. Shaheed has been a visiting professor of political science at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College and a visiting professor of human rights practice at the University of Essex since 2012. He was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran in 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

For more information and media requests please contact:
In New York:
André-Michel Essoungou, (+1 917 367 9995 / Cell: +1 917 940 0685 / essoungou@un.org)
Nenad Vasic (+1 212 963 5998 / Cell: +1 917 941 7558 / vasic@un.org)
In Geneva:
Naveed Ahmed (+41 22 928 9477 / +41 79 444 4332 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