UN rights report demands Iran end 'widespread' violations

UN rights report demands Iran end 'widespread' violations
The report said Iran must eliminate discrimination against women and religious minorities and expressed "serious concern" over restrictions on freedom of assembly.
2 min read
16 November, 2018
Anti-government protests in Iran last year were violently put down by security forces [Getty]

A UN human rights approved a resolution Thursday urging Iran to end discrimination against women and religious minorities and expressing serious concern at its "alarmingly high" use of the death penalty.

The General Assembly's Human Rights Committee resolution, virtually certain to be approved by the UN next month, "strongly urges" Iran to eliminate discrimination against women in law and practice. 

It also expresses "serious concern about ongoing severe limitations and restrictions on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief".

It singles out violations including harassment, intimidation and persecution against religious minorities - and urges the release of religious practitioners including Baha'i leaders.

Iran is also demanded to end "widespread and serious restrictions" including on freedom of assembly of political opponents, human rights defenders, labour leaders, environmentalists, academics, filmmakers, journalists, bloggers, social media users and others.

While the resolution welcomes the elimination of the death penalty for some drug-related offences, it expresses serious concern at the "alarmingly high frequency" of Iran's use of the death penalty, including against minors.

Last month, Iran, one of the world's leading executioners, hanged a teenage rape victim who was abused by her husband and convicted of killing him in a "grossly unfair trial", Amnesty International said.

The rights group, which has documented numerous rights violations in the Islamic republic, this week reported 22 Ahwazi Arabs have been killed in secret.

And rare anti-government protests in December last year saw at least 21 killed and hundreds arrested by security forces.

Iran's deputy UN ambassador, Eshagh al-Habib, dismissed the resolution as a "political charade," saying promoting the human rights of Iranians "is not simply a legal and moral responsibility, but a paramount requirement of national security."

"Similar to any other country, deficiencies may exist, and we are determined to address them," he said. "However, it is not for those who traditionally, historically and practically supported colonialism, slavery, racism and apartheid to lecture Iranians on human rights."

Alluding to the resolution's sponsor Canada and more than 30 co-sponsors, including the United States, Habib said that threatening cuts in financial and development funds to get votes "further exposes the dishonesty of these self-assured champions of human rights".

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