Washington, DC – The UN General Assembly’s Third Committee is set to vote today on a resolution concerning the human rights situation in Iran. The resolution, which has been passed annually, would call on Iran to address human rights violations detailed most recently in a report published by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed.
The election of President Rouhani, and the release of a number of political prisoners including human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, signify recent advances made to the human rights situation in Iran. While Shaheed’s report welcomes the positive changes made under President Rouhani, it expresses deep concern for the many unaddressed and even deteriorating human rights conditions for areas such as freedom of expression, women’s rights, prison conditions, and severity and rate of executions, particularly in cases involving ethnic and religious minorities. The report noted that Iran has the greatest number of executions in the world, per capita.
The National Iranian American Council publicly urged that member states adopt the draft resolution on human rights, and other NGOs have also advocated directly to member states to encourage them to vote in favor of the human rights resolution. A twitter campaign is also underway in order to raise general awareness and support for the resolution vote, using the hashtag #IranVote.
The Special Rapporteur’s report also discusses effect of sanctions on Iran, which have made it increasingly difficult for Iranians to access advanced medicines. The report states that there are 7000 hemophilia patients at risk due to the lack of anti-hemophilia drugs. In addition, high inflation of Iran’s currency, partly caused by sanctions and further aggravated by mismanagement by the government, has made it difficult for ordinary Iranians to afford their basic needs like food and clothing.
With the recent diplomatic opening between Iran and the U.S., there is hope that the talks will not be limited to the nuclear issue and include human rights as a core issue, a position advocated by NIAC and others who believe diplomacy presents the best channel for direct accountability in order to ensure systematic improvements are made inside of Iran.