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Iran: UN expert acknowledges encouraging signs in “deeply concerning” human rights situation

Iran rights concern

26 October 2017

NEW YORK (25 October 2017) – There are encouraging signs of progress in Iran’s human rights picture, but these render the reports of violations all the more painful and the need for institutional reform all the more pressing, a UN expert on the country’s human rights situation said Wednesday.

“The current human rights situation in Iran is deeply concerning in many respects, but I also believe that there are some encouraging signs which I hope will be realised in the near future,” said Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir.

“I continue to hope that the human rights situation will improve in the country through the efforts of the Government. This will require an enabling political environment both at the national and at the global level,” she added.

Presenting a full report to the UN General Assembly, the expert said positive developments included a high turnout in presidential and local elections, positive statements on human rights made by President Hassan Rouhani, and the Charter on Citizen’s Rights unveiled by the president last December.

But she said numerous other concerns over civil and political rights remained, including restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, opinion, information.

People working in the media, including journalists working abroad, reported being interrogated, placed under surveillance, and other forms of harassment and intimidation, she said. Human rights defenders were suffering “harassment, intimidation, and prosecutions, some prisoners of conscience were on hunger strike, and some dual nationals had been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty.

Ms. Jahangir called for progress to protect the rights of women “in practice, and in legislation”, to ensure the independence of the judiciary, and to ensure remedy, reparation and truth for victims of rights abuses.

Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities continued to face challenges including the unabated discrimination against and targeting of the Baha’i community which threatened their right to a livelihood, she added.

Ms. Jahangir said Iran’s use of the death penalty was another cause of concern. A new anti-narcotics law could reduce its use and some delay executions, but she highlighted the execution of four juvenile offenders over the past year.

“I urge the Iranian authorities to urgently abolish the sentencing of children to death, and to engage in a comprehensive process of commutation of all death sentences issued against children, in line with juvenile justice standards,” the Special Rapporteur said.

Ms. Jahangir added her praise for all those working for human rights in Iran, including those sharing information with her.

“I would like to pay tribute to those who continue to speak out and provide information to my mandate, amidst a blanket of fear and intimidation directed towards them and their families,” said the Special Rapporteur.


To read Asma Jahangir's full statement to the General Assembly, please visit:

Ms. Asma Jahangir (Pakistan) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran in September 2016 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. As a Special Rapporteur, she is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page: Iran

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