Dialogue of the day - three special reporters finally nominated in the Human Rights Council

“Choosing a special rapporteur for Iran is soon to happen”

28 May 2011

28th May 2011

Ardavan Roozbeh / Radio Koocheh

Translated by Avideh Motmaen-Far

March twenty-fourth two thousand eleven was the day the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, after several meetings over several weeks, voted for choosing a Special Rapporteur for Human Rights review in Iran.

Earlier, also Mr. “Gallian De Paul” and Mr. “Maurice Copithorne” were chosen as Special Rapporteurs on human rights in Iran but except a short trip to Iran, no access to documents were provided in Iran for Mr. De Paul.

Now, after nearly a decade, the council has again determined the necessity to announce a Special Rapporteur for Iran.

However, after consultations with members of the council and considering the suggestions, three candidates have been determined. Of these three people, on June sixteen and seventeen 2011, the Human Rights Council will select one.

According to the report of ‘‘Justice’’ concerning Iran:

The ”Consultative Group” composed of representatives of the Human Rights Council members from India, Finland, Romania, Zambia and Panama, had over six formal meetings to review the proposed candidates and has t choose the one who satisfy the general requirements and special requirements of the country where they are supposed to be sent. At these six sessions that were held on April 20th, May 4th , 5th, 11th, 20th, and 23d, all members of the group attended.  Among the candidates for Special Rapporteur post, Nasrin Mosaffa, president of Human Rights Center of Tehran University and Hassan Ziaifar , head of the Islamic Human Rights Center, can be seen. Both these candidates have been nominated by the Islamic Republic. Also ”Payam Akhavan”, Professor of International Law at, “McGill” University in Canada is listed among the candidates.

Now, after nearly a decade, the council has again determined the necessity to announce a Special Rapporteur for Iran

But the question remains whether the Iranian government is going to be cooperative.
Organization ”Justice” concerning the candidate’s reports:

These three candidates are all men and two of them come from Muslim countries.

Ahmad Shahid is currently the Prime Minister’s adviser in foreign policy in Maldives. He has been the Maldives Secretary of Foreign Affairs in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2010. He has been activists in signing nine of international commitments to human rights and has worked well on the implement of these obligations in domestic laws.

Roberto Toscano is currently working at Woodrow Wilson Research Center, researching about Iran and has been Ambassador of Italy respectively in Iran and India. He teaches also Human Rights at University of Pisa and LUISS University in Rome.

Amin Madani is a human rights lawyer and currently works as a lawyer in Khartoum in a legal institution. He is also representatives of Iraq and Afghanistan at the UN.

Considering that all the group members anonymously considered Ahmed Shahid’s candidature, it seems that Amin Madani has more luck than the two other candidates to be chosen for this task.

Regarding the latest events in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Radio Koocheh has been talking with “Hasan Nayeb Hashem”, civil activist in Europe who has been present in all the meetings of this organization:

Mr. Nayeb Hashem, on March 23, the case of human rights in Iran reached the point that the issue of nominating an inspector was raised. It has been 3 months since then. What are the latest news regarding the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in Iran?

I hope all Iranians and human rights defenders try to know these people and in case they are chosen later, they could contact them and help them to accomplish their responsibility in the best way possible

After the Special Rapporteur is determined, a Commission in the Human Rights Council composed of five different countries which are part of the Advisory Commission in Human Rights Council will be responsible as official report to select one of the candidates and suggest the candidate to the next council meeting. So in June 17, in this meeting the Special Rapporteur will be definitely identified. This year Human Rights Council from June 2010 to June this year, delegates are India, Finland, Romania, Zambia and Panama. They have already began their review and had several sessions. They have come from 283 candidates and chosen 43 people. And among these 43 persons, 3 persons will be suggested to the Human Rights Council session. On the last day of the meeting, June 17, the Human Rights Council will determine which one among the three candidates will be the Special Rapporteur for Iran.

Who are these candidates and where do they come from?

Mr. Roberto Toscano is from Italy, Ahmed Shahid from Maldives and Amin Madani is from Sudan. Mr. Toscano has already been Italian Ambassador in Iran and is familiar with a lot of issues in Iran and has different responsibilities including the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Ahmed Shahid has been Maldives Secretary of Foreign Affairs and since Maldives have been moving toward democratization, he has been playing a serious role. When he was Maldives Secretary of Foreign Affairs, many human rights conventions were signed. Amin Madani has been active in Sudan, and Beirut in the framework of the UN activities. They are diplomates who are working in human rights fields and all three of them  are mighty in their activities but in terms of familiarity with human rights issues in Iran and being able to connect with human rights defenders in Iran, things can be different.

It all depends on what the Human Rights Council is going to decide in three weeks. I hope all Iranians and human rights defenders try to know these people and in case they are chosen later, they could contact them and help them to accomplish their responsibility in the best way possible.

If this process is done and the reporter who should go to Iran and be able to analyze the human rights issues closely in Iran, what do you think this Special Rapporteur could be able to do considering Iran’s not very friendly collaboration?

We should be hopeful that he will be able to make it to Iran. The Special Rapporteur on North Korea never made it to this country and the Special Rapporteur on Burma never had the opportunity to travel there and after years with the new developments in Burma in recent years, he was able to visit Burma. We must hope that the Special Rapporteur be admitted in Iran. Mr. Gallien De Paul ” and ” Maurice Copithorne ” had a very limited trip to Iran before and after two trips, they did not provide any further possibility for them. After the Special Rapporteur on special subject who went to Iran in 2005, no one else was able to go to Iran. We should try that the selected person could go to the country and be fed by information. Human rights defenders were trying to give information to Copithorne and Gallien De Paul. Although Gallien De Paul did not have the possibility to get to some sections of prisons but even speaking with a few people made it pretty clear what was going on in the prisons in those years.

These are facilities that human rights defenders abroad should try to use in the best way possible. The Special Rapporteurs try to get in touch with human rights defenders within the country. There should be conditions allowing them to connect with these people.



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