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A rapporteur on Human Rights conditions in Iran: confirmed

“A step forward for Human Rights in Iran”

31 Mar 2011

http://radiokoocheh.com/article/97816

30th March 2011

Ardavan Roozbeh / Radio Koocheh

ardavan@koochehmail.com

Translated by Avideh Motmaen-Far

After nearly three weeks of studying the case of human rights in Iran, on Wednesday March the twenty-third, between forty-seven countries currently on the UN Human Rights Council, regarding the status of Iran’s human rights, twenty-five countries abstained, fourteen countries voted in favor and seven countries voted against sending a rapporteur to Iran.

Thus, after nine years that ”Maurice Copithorne” was appointed as Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, United Nations has decided to send another Rapporteur to Iran. Mr. ”Copithorne”, despite international efforts never reached Iran.

Earlier, another Human Rights Rapporteur, ”Galindo Pohl” could just have a single trip to Iran.

But in this political juncture that according to political experts is the most difficult period for the rulers of Iran, lack of acceptable response regarding the issues raised about human rights violations in one hand and increasing social protests and appointment of a special rapporteur, have made the situation very difficult for the Islamic Republic in the international community.

Now, the Human Rights Council approved that a rapporteur on human rights issues should be deployed in Iran. Meanwhile, the role of civil rights activists who have been working during a long  period at the UN headquarters commenting the issues of human rights violations can not be ignored.

”Hassan Nayeb Hashem” is one of the civil rights activists who has been present during these three weeks at the UN in Geneva. In this dialogue with Radio Koocheh, he talks about the issues raised in these three weeks, and the activities of the protesting groups against the human rights situation:

This is so common that in the Human Rights Council, a number of countries speak and explain why they had such position before and after the establishment of the resolution. If they have voted in favor, in opposition or simply abstentained. The Islamic Republic had the opportunity to view their say about the resolution. Unfortunately, they were not even able to use this opportunity well for themselves. Rather than speaking about its content and its lack of necessity, they noted that the resolution had a political purpose and tried to attack USA and the human rights violations in US.

And this, in fact, was considered to be against themselves, possibly even their negative and weak stance might have influenced the votes. However votes exceeded the activists expectations. Only seven countries voted against and abstentions and votes in favor were much more than twenty,  we witnessed twenty-two countries had voted in favor. And in this sense, it is considered a great victory.

Now, the Human Rights Council approved that a rapporteur on human rights issues should be deployed in Iran. Meanwhile, the role of civil rights activists who have been working during a long  period at the UN headquarters commenting the issues of human rights violations can not be ignored.

Today the Malaysian government has announced its position and explained the reason of their abstention. As you know, the OIC countries on behalf of which Pakistan spoke, declared that they are opposed to this resolution, but also among the few Muslim countries such as ”Pakistan”, “Bangladesh” and “Mauritius” who voted against this resolution, other member countries of the  Islamic Conference who are present in the Human Rights Council as well, abstained their votes and some of them such as “Maldives” voted in favor.

However, the result was very positive and the effort of especially Iranian human rights activists and non-Iranian that had begun long ago, finally resulted in this resolution. You know that after the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Copithorne could not go to Iran, human rights activists were always hoping and making efforts and finally the situations around the world and in the Islamic Republic have changed. This was a good situation for this to take place. As you know this is contrary to the usual process that when it started, we had more than 10 special rapporteurs and gradually we started having less special rapporteur and more specific subject rapporteurs. Unlike the usual process,  there has been so many cases of human rights violations in the Islamic Republic, that the UN Human Rights Council, saw themselves forced to determine a Special Rapporteur.

You mentioned that civil rights activists were present in Geneva. Please tell us summarily about their efforts at the conference.

For example, one of these NGOs with consultative position, on behalf of which I was there, had the possibility to announce its positions on various cases like the member countries in the Human Rights Council. We took this opportunity in several cases about Iran, Iranian issues, which we expressed in public that had its impact. In addition to the opportunities that came along, civil rights activists were trying to talk with countries whose vote could be influential and that were still not clear about their votes. Say that changing the votes has been a lot result of recent months work especially the past few months, even few weeks and few days. Even though, within the Human Rights Council, which represent different countries in relation to their own country, however, are present in their own capital also have certain powers and having a discussion with relevant agencies in their own country was very influential. Significantly, perhaps most notably, “Brazil” was one of them, that their position was not clear until the end and finally voting in favor of the resolution was very influential.

As a civil rights activist what do you think about the impact of the last report of Mr. ”Copithorne”, Human Rights Rapporteur and whether the Iranian government is really going to work with a rapporteur appointed by the resolution?

Mr. Copithorne “could not go to Iran. Before Mr. ”Copithorne”, Mr. ”Galindo Pohl” could only once  go to Iran and see the prisons. He was able to put some light on those in that period who have been under pressure and forced to confess against themselves. His report was so bad that the Islamic Republic of Iran did not invite him again. And then also with Mr.”Ca Peter” was the same story. The two reports in the international community were effective but the Islamic Republic’s trick in the manner that they said they will allow subject rapporteurs to come to Iran if the special rapporteurs do not come back again. And the international community saw some changes in the period of Khatami’s presidency, so they accepted it. And then a few other special rapporteurs came to Iran in 2005 and since no other special rapporteur came.

Now the situation is such that we must see first who the Special Rapporteur is going to be and how familiar he is with the Islamic Republic tricks, because as you know, they lie easily and try to deceive the international community in different ways. It depends on who is going to be and how familiar he is with the issues. Compared to the past, conditions have changed globally and we hope that it can be effective. You can imagine that when the subject rapporteurs work on a specific subject and most of the time, it is not even political or civil rights cases and there are too many obstacles, however, they tend to want to invite for example Ms. ”Pillay”, is actually to show their good will but we should see how things work in future cases.

As an example, in “Burma”, for years, Special Rapporteur was not allowed to enter Burma, but when we saw this new uprising in Burma by Clergymen and priests, so the Special Rapporteur on Burma was able to go there and to review the situation and give his suggestions. After that, Burma has changed, that are still not enough, however, the Special Rapporteur could influence the country.

Who were the civil rights activists protesting the conditions inside the United Nations in Geneva or in front of the building of the UN?

We, somehow, in a public campaign, expose human rights violations in the Islamic Republic and invite civil and human rights activists to participate in this process. This time too, we organized things within the Human Rights Council. And human rights issues such as “terror”, ”torture”,   “execution” as well as women’s issues were raised, we had many friends who participated, like Mr. ”Sohrab Mokhtari” who talked about assassinations.

Many students of the Consolidation of Unity participated and had a demonstration before the UN headquarters, and a big protests on Monday February fourteenth was scheduled at the same time when reports of Mr. “Ban Ki-moon” was presented, unfortunately, that day they did not review it, it took two days to review the report. There was a big protests of our young friends and students who attended many debates conferences. Religious minorities as well, Mr. ”Golmorad Moradi”, Dr.  ”Azmayesh” and Ms.”Alaei” spoke, and friends from groups such as Turkmen and Azerbaijan like Mr. ”Razmi” and other Arab and Kurd friends talked about various issues related to human rights violations. These meetings were that the most productive meetings we had within the Human Rights Council.

 

 
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