Saturday, August 19, 2017

New Light On Iran's Human Rights Violations

End the silence on Iran’s human rights abuses before the current crackdown worsens

The nationwide protests in Iran, which began on December 28 in Mashhad, gave voice to the economic frustration of ordinary Iranians, but quickly expanded to slogans like “death to [President] Rouhani”, “death to the dictator”, and “reformists, conservatives: the game is over.” In short, the protesters were demanding democratic change in Iran.

To no one’s surprise, Iranian authorities responded violently, with at least 8,000 arrests and upwards of 50 deaths. The predictability of the suppression should have prepared Western policymakers to respond appropriately and effectively.

Despite such brutality, the protests have continued. Earlier this week, several Iranian cities, including Isfahan, Shiraz, Gorgan, Arak, Bandar Abbas, Bushehr, and Khorramabad were the scenes of protests, in which young people were repeating the slogans as those in the protesters in early January.

The theocratic dictatorship has a virtually uninterrupted record of human rights abuses dating back to the immediate aftermath of the 1979 revolution. Struggling to retain its hold on power near the end of the Iran-Iraq War, then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering the mass execution of prisoners deemed a political threat.

In 1988, an estimated 30,000 political prisoners were hanged or shot after being briefly interrogated about their political affiliations. The vast majority were members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK). But despite this effort to stamp out the leading resistance group, the MEK remained an underground force for pro-democratic activism.

Iran’s current Supreme Leader recently took the unusual step of acknowledging the leading role played by MEK activists in the latest protests. “These incidents had been organized, and the MEK implemented the plans,” Ali Khamenei said in a speech on January 9. “The MEK had prepared for this months ago and its media outlets had called for it.”

Resolution condemning Iran's human rights violations
Dec. 24, 2017 - Senior Senator Ron Wyden sponsored a resolution at the United States Senate condemning the violation of human rights in Iran for persecuting religious minorities, particularly the Baha'is.
The resolution condemns the Government of Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.
Congress continuously declared that it deplored the religious persecution by the Government of Iran of the Baha’i community and would hold the Government of Iran responsible for upholding the rights of all Iranian nationals, including members of the Baha’i Faith;

The United Nations General Assembly adopted its 64th resolution on Tuesday, December 19, against violations of human right in Iran.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, welcomed the resolution and said, “In the case of a regime which has totally ignored dozens of UN resolutions against the unabated violations of human rights in Iran and its highest officials publicly boast of massacring political prisoners, the international community must adopt binding measures to stop the regime’s crimes. All diplomatic and commercial relations with the mullahs’ theocratic regime directly serve the interests of Khamenei’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and must be conditioned on an end to torture and executions in Iran and a halt to the regime’s destructive meddling in the region. In the absence of a firm policy, flagrant violations of human rights in Iran and export of terrorism, fundamentalism and belligerence to the region and the world will continue.”
Referring to the resolution’s call on the Iranian regime “to launch a comprehensive accountability process in response to all cases of serious human rights violations, including those involving the Iranian judiciary and security agencies, and… to end impunity for such violations,” Mrs. Rajavi stressed, “The most significant example of serious human rights violations in Iran is the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 in which all the clerical regime’s officials specifically Ali Khamenei as well as the mullahs’ judiciary and the highest officials in charge of security and intelligence agencies were involved and complicit. They defend it but have so far remained immune from prosecution. Therefore, the international community faces a great test in investigating this great crime against humanity and prosecuting its perpetrators.”
Maryam Rajavi urged the UN to launch an investigative committee in this case, adding, “This is the first step in putting an end to the impunity of criminals who have been ruling Iran for 38 years.”
The UN General Assembly expressed “serious concern at the alarmingly high frequency of the imposition and carrying-out of the death penalty... including the imposition of the death penalty against minors and persons who at the time of their offence were under the age of 18, and executions undertaken for crimes that do not qualify as the most serious crimes, on the basis of forced confessions” and called on the Iranian regime “to abolish, in law and in practice, public executions.”
The UN General Assembly resolution also called on the Iranian regime to cease and end “torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, “widespread and systematic use of arbitrary detention, including the use of such practices to target dual and foreign nationals”, “the poor conditions of prisons”, “denial of access to adequate medical treatment”, “widespread and serious restrictions… on the right to freedom of expression, opinion, association and peaceful assembly, both online and offline”, “the harassment, intimidation and persecution of political opponents, human rights defenders, women’s and minority rights activists, labour leaders, students’ rights activists, academics, film-makers, journalists, bloggers, social media users and social media page administrators, media workers, religious leaders, artists, lawyers and persons belonging to recognized and unrecognized religious minorities and their families”, “unduly harsh sentences, including the death penalty and long-term internal exile”, “reprisals against individuals, including for cooperating with the United Nations human rights mechanisms,” and “all forms of discrimination and other human rights violations against women and girls” and “against persons belonging to religious, ethnic, linguistic or other minorities.”
The Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
December 19, 2017
Human Rights Experts Call for Accountability for Iranian Regime's Atrocities
WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a panel at the National Press Club by the Washington Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US), human rights experts called for accountability for Iranian regime's human rights abuses.
Referring to NCRI's newly released book, "Iran, Where Mass Murderers Rule, The 1988 Massacre of 30,000 Political Prisoners and the Continuing Atrocities," former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Kenneth Blackwell, called for accountability into the 1988 massacre to "put pressure on the regime to give access so that we might shine light on the evils that were done… [to give] hope to [those] inside Iran." Blackwell added, "our delegation at the U.N. [should] continue to be a leading voice, not only on international terrorism…by the regime, but …to bring justice to a regime … that is a threat to the basic fabric of humanity across the globe."
Former Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, Linda Chavez, referred to the role of women in the opposition. "It is no accident," that Iran's opposition movement "is led by a woman, Madame Maryam Rajavi. She stands as a real affront to this regime. The regime hates and fears the MEK [Mujahedin-e Khalq] because in the MEK women … are allowed to lead others. And men are willing to listen and to follow them; a major threat to a regime that wants to imprison half its people."
Iran's Ultimate Vulnerability:Video
Heshmat Alavi
Forbes, December 8, 2017 - Developments in the Middle East have placed the spotlight once again on Iran and its hegemonic temptations. This goes parallel to calls from parties such as France and Germany, whom Iran previously counted on in the face of U.S. pressures, demanding Tehran reel in its ballistic missile program and support for proxy groups across the region.
While all such measures are necessary and deserve escalation, Tehran’s human rights violations demand even more attention. This is the one issue that both shivers fear in the ruling regime and provides direct support for the Iranian people in their struggle for freedom, democracy and all the other values embraced by today’s 21st century world.
As the world marks International Human Rights Day on December 10th, we are also well into the first year of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s second term.
Dubbed as a “moderate” figure in Iran’s politics, with many arguing otherwise, the scene witnessed in Iran during his tenure has been far from it. Over 3,500 executions are merely the first stain of an atrocious report card of human rights violations.
A new report  by Iran Human Rights Monitoring reviewing the plight of human rights in Iran during the course of 2017 sheds light on a reality the regime strives to cloak from the world.
Read more

International Leaders Call on EU to Raise Human Rights Abuses in Dialogue with Iran
The Iranian regime has long been a source of human rights violations and abuses. They have attempted through various means to oppress any ideas that might challenge their authority and power base. Even as the Iranian people suffer, the regime continues to use its power to spread its influence throughout the region.
For international leaders, the European Union is seen as having an opportunity for dialogue about human rights, but there is also a question of whether the EU can stand up to the regime.
On November 25, 2017, a delegation of EU Parliament members traveled to Tehran to meet with their Iranian counterparts. CHRI urges these MPs to use this opportunity to directly address Iranian officials on these rights violations.
In a briefing paper that was released ahead of the EU-Iran human right dialogue, the FIDH and its member organization League for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) have highlighted four key areas of concern: the death penalty, arbitrary detention and torture, discrimination against women and
On Tuesday, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly voted upon a resolution condemning Iran’s systematic violations of human rights. Passing with votes from 83 member states, the resolution was the 30th of its kind since 1985, and it specifically outlined a number of the recurring human rights issues in the Islamic Republic, including extensive misuse of the death penalty, institutionalized discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, and the suppression of free speech and the press, in part through the routine imprisonment of journalists and activists.
Predictably, Iranian authorities publicly rejected the resolution and attempted to portray it as a product of political bias, although they did not address the actual accusations in the resolution, which was presented to the General Assembly by Canadian diplomats. Bahram Qasemi, the spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, issued a response on Wednesday, as reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency. In it, he said “Iran is ready to hold negotiations with real supporters of human rights on developing human rights in the framework of mutual respect, equality, justice and fairness.”
Team Trump and a Writ of Mass Murder — Tehran's Failed Coverup Scheme
Bottom Line Up Front
The first objective is to bring those responsible to an international tribunal; a second is for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to set up a commission of inquiry on 1988 massacres by Iran; and third is to focus the Trump administration on the situation of human rights in Iran. A search of the UN Human Rights Council website reveals 15 General Assembly documents addressed to Iran about its human rights conditions, with scant effect on Iran’s violations.
After 28 years, Tehran drew a “redline” on anyone discussing these 1988 carnages, as elaborated in a post of June 4 by Siavosh Hosseini.
“Writ” is in the title to signal a writ of habeas corpus, “You have the body.” “Mass Murder” conjures up genocidal actions, by State authorities in Iran. “Tehran’s Failed Cover-up” indicates Tehran sought to hide the bodies, but hard evidence caused Tehran to fail. The bloodbaths turned into a yardstick to judge political currents of individuals.

U.N. Third Committee Adopts Resolution Censuring Human Rights Abuses in Iran
Maryam Rajavi calls on the UN to launch committee to investigate the 1988 massacre in Iran
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, welcomed the 64th UN resolution condemning the violations of human rights in Iran adopted only a few hours ago by the UN Third Committee. She pointed out, “The time has come for the international community and especially the UN Security Council to undertake effective and practical measures against the religious fascism ruling Iran for its flagrant and systematic violations of human rights in Iran, particularly the brutal executions that are carried out arbitrarily and en masse.”
Referring to the resolution’s call on the Iranian regime “to launch a comprehensive accountability process in response to all cases of serious human rights violations, including those involving the Iranian judiciary and security agencies, and… to end impunity for such violations,” Mrs. Rajavi stressed, “The best example of serious human rights violations in Iran is the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 in which all the clerical regime’s agencies and officials including Ali Khamenei, the president, the judiciary, the mullahs’ parliament, and the highest officials in charge of security and intelligence agencies were involved and complicit. They defend it and have so far remained immune from prosecution. Therefore, the international community faces a great test in investigating this great crime against humanity and prosecuting its perpetrators.”
Iran Dominates Third Committee Discussions on Human Rights
October 26, 2017 - ASMA JAHANGIR, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, said the report she was presenting was her first since assuming the mandate and covered the first six months of 2017.  She expressed concern over the rate of executions, with at least four juvenile offenders executed since the beginning of the year, and 86 more known to be on death row.  Reports of torture were also deeply concerning, as were those of harassment, intimidation and prosecution of human rights defenders.
She continued to receive reports of violations against the freedom of expression, with numerous journalists describing harassment and intimidation by State agents

UN Resolution Condemning Iran's Human Rights Violations Welcomed by the NCRI
The human rights situation in Iran continues to be of serious concern. It is reported that activists, journalists, and foreign nationals are harassed, arrested, mistreated, and even tortured and imprisoned for speaking against the regime.
The international community recognized this by passing the 64th resolution, adopted by the UN Third Committee, that condemns the human rights violations in Iran. The resolution was was praised by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) President-elect Maryam Rajavi. She said that she sees it as another step by the international community toward addressing the needs of the Iranian people.
Highlighted in reports by the UN Secretary General and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, is the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. Justice for Victims of 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) has also raised awareness for this atrocity, that saw the execution of thousands of prisoners, as was sanctioned by the Supreme Leader. The victims were buried in mass graves. The regime has attempted to ignore the event, and construction has begun on sites of potential mass graves.

UN: A UN special rapporteur on human rights said on Thursday there had been little change in the situation in Iran over the past year, voicing deep outrage over the harassment of journalists and adding that progress on women’s rights was extremely slow.
A day after submitting her report to the world body, Asma Jahangir, the UN special rapporteur on the Iran rights situation, told reporters that torture was widespread in Iran and that some people were imprisoned for seeking justice.
Jahangir said she did not attempt to assess the impact of sanctions on human rights in Iran in her report because she had not been allowed to visit the country, which does not recognise her mandate.
Asma JahangirU.N. Special Rapporteur Speaks on Dismal Human Rights Situation and 1988 Massacre in Iran
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran addressed the Seventy-second session of the General Assembly in New York on October 25, to discuss the dismal situation of human rights in Iran that has been prevalent since the Regime took over in 1979.
Asma Jahangir, who was addressing the General Assembly for the first time since taking the role in November 2016, delivered a report on the first six months of 2017 which was based on sources both inside and outside of Iran.

Hold Iran accountable for its abysmal human rights record BY TAHAR BOUMEDRA

Hold Iran accountable for its abysmal human rights record
For all his claims of moderation, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has overseen a crackdown by Iranian security forces. The ranks of political prisoners have swollen since he took office. A shockingly broad range of “offenses” can lead to execution, and despite campaign-trail promises of a more open Iranian society, Rouhani has done nothing to curtail this trend. Well over 3,000 people were executed during his first term, some for “crimes” such as donating money to banned media outlets sympathetic to the main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.
There are few limits on who can be put to death. Iran remains one of very few countries that still executes offenders under the age of 18 at the time of their arrest. This practice has continued during Rouhani’s tenure, and as recently as August, two juvenile offenders were slated for execution within a week of each other.
Although one of these executions did not ultimately go forward, it was not because his sentence was commuted. Instead, the accused paid blood money to the victim’s family, in return for which they spared his life as is their right under Iran’s Islamic law. In recent years, whenever the execution rate has declined, it has apparently been because of this practice, and not because of any change in judicial sentencing.
Iran Human Rights Monitor Reports Continuation of Human Rights Violations in Iran
Iran Human Rights Monitor Reports Continuation of Human Rights Violations in Iran

Iran Human Rights Monitor has compiled a report detailing the human rights situation in the country for the month of September.
It highlighted that there has been a continuation of systematic violations of human rights and mentioned in particular executions, amputations, torture and the murder of porters.
The group reported that there were 42 executions last month – 22 of which were reported in state media. It is expected that the actual number is even higher. Several of them were carried out in public in prisons across the country. At least one woman was hanged in the Central Prison of Zanjan.
In Ardebil Prison, two men were executed on 19th September. One of the men was 23 years-old and was serving a three year sentence. However, charges against him were fabricated and his sentence was changed to execution.
Fellow prisoners, in some cases, were ordered to watch executions in attempt to torture them before their own executions are carried out. 
Iran Human Rights Monitor also pointed out that 14 executions took place on 20th September – the same day that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke at the United Nations General Assembly, dismissing claims that there was a problem.
Amnesty International: Release human rights activists from unjust imprisonment
The space for human rights activism in Iran is rapidly shrinking, as the state’s judicial and security bodies intensify their crackdown. But anti-death penalty campaigners, women’s and minority rights activists, trade unionists, and many others bravely continue to speak up.

Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack
Iran is waging a ruthless crackdown against people who stand up to injustice and defend human rights. The country’s courageous human rights defenders have come under suffocating levels of repression at the hands of Iran’s judicial and security apparatus.
Scores of human rights defenders, including anti-death penalty campaigners, women’s rights activists, trade unionists, minority rights activists, human rights lawyers, and activists seeking truth, justice, and reparations for the mass extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances of the 1980s are facing lengthy prison sentences in connection with their peaceful activities, and many others are being subjected to surveillance, interrogations and drawn out trials. Those who defend human rights are often labelled “foreign agents” and “traitors” by state media, and prosecuted and jailed by the authorities on bogus “national security” charges.
The Iranian authorities must release immediately and unconditionally all human rights defenders imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and end the misuse of the justice system to silence activists.
Join Amnesty International’s campaign in support of Iran’s brave human rights defenders who have risked their life and liberty to help others. Sign our petition.
U.N. Special Rapporteur Tells Iran Regime: Abolish Torture and Release Detainees
U.N. Special Rapporteur Tells Iran Regime: Abolish Torture and Release Detainees
NCRI - Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, was interviewed by Al Arabiya’s studios in the United Nations about the current situation in the country.
She said that in many areas in the country there are serious violations of human rights - from rule of law, denial of due process, discriminatory laws, people being discriminated against on religious and ethnic grounds and torture. She said that she believes the Iranian government is beginning to look into these violations, however the steps being taken to address then are “very tiny”. The government knows that there are issues that need to be addressed, but she emphasised that it cannot continue to let them drag on because awareness is rising across the world.
With regards to protesters in Iran that seek an improvement of the rights situation, Jahangir said that she will not discourage them from speaking up, despite the fact that they risk detention and torture. She reminded them that it is the right of every citizen in the world to speak up for their rights and against incidents where rights are violated.
Read more
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressing UN delegates at the General Assembly December 12, 2016 at the United Nations in New York. AFP / Eduardo Munoz AlvarezTwo of the major crises the international community is currently engaged with are terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Iran, in particular, is negatively involved in both fields, being known as the central banker of international terrorism,
and suspicious for its own controversial nuclear program at home parallel to its nuclear/missile collaboration with North Korea.
As these subjects are of significant importance and deserve even more attributed attention, what must not go neglected is the fact that Iran is taking advantage of such circumstances to continue an equally important campaign of belligerence against its own people. The scope of human rights violations carried out by Tehran is continuously on the rise, with the ruling regime interpreting the mentioned international crises as windows of opportunity to extend its domestic crackdown.
Read more
Iran Vilifies Human Rights Defenders as ‘Enemies of the State’
Iran Vilifies Human Rights Defenders as ‘Enemies of the State
The Iranian regime has increasingly focused on clamping down on anyone who speaks out against the human rights abuses of its ruling class. One of the key areas where this is demonstrated is in the trials of these individuals. Many lack basic legal representation, and the proceedings are brief. If they do have legal representation, there are often hurdles for them to meet with their lawyers and having access to court files delayed.
Human rights lawyers who speak out against torture and unfair trials have also faced harassment, disbarment, and imprisonment. Trials of human rights defenders generally take place in a climate of fear.
Amnesty International recently launched a global campaign ‘Brave’, calling for an end to attacks against those defending human rights worldwide.
“It is a bitter irony that as the Iranian authorities boast about their increased engagement with the UN and the EU, particularly in the aftermath of the nuclear deal, human rights defenders who have made contact with these same institutions are being treated as criminals,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Rather than propagating the dangerous myth that human rights defenders pose a threat to national security, the Iranian authorities should focus on addressing the legitimate concerns they raise. These are people who have risked everything to build a more humane and just society – it is appalling that they are so viciously punished for their bravery.”
Amnesty International, who released a new report entitled ‘Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack’, is calling on the EU to speak out in the strongest terms against the persecution of human rights defenders in the country.
“The international community, and in particular the EU, must not stay silent over the outrageous treatment of human rights defenders in Iran,” said Luther. “Instead of appeasing Iranian officials, the EU should forcefully call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those jailed for their peaceful human rights activism and for an end to the misuse of the justice system to silence activists.”
This recent report detailed the crackdown on human rights defenders in a variety of key areas, including the death penalty, women’s rights, and trade unionists, just to name a few.
Over the past four years, Iran’s judiciary have dropped the threshold for invoking the vague national security-related charges, while increasing the length of prison sentences for these individuals. Many of their crimes include contacting the UN and the EU, as well as international agencies focused on human rights.
via  Iran Vilifies Human Rights Defenders as ‘Enemies of the State’ — The Media Express

UN experts urge Iran to halt juvenile’s execution
GENEVA (17 January 2016) - UN experts today urged the Islamic Republic of Iran to halt the possibly imminent execution of a juvenile offender.
“We are deeply concerned that the life of a juvenile offender remains in danger and that he may be executed at any moment,” said the experts, Asma Jahangir, Special Rapportueur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Benyam Dawit Mezmur Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

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