For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) strongly supports today’s successful vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to establish an independent UN human rights monitor on Iran. NIAC applauds the efforts of Sweden, the Obama administration, and the cross-regional group of HRC states who supported the measure.
“The international community has finally taken action to help protect the human rights of the Iranian people,” said Jamal Abdi, NIAC Policy Director. “This concrete measure sends a powerful message to the government of Iran that the world will not turn a blind eye to its human rights violations.”
On March 15, 2011, NIAC convened a Capitol Hill conference regarding the human rights monitor effort that featured Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Suzanne Nossel, Swedish Ambassador to the US Jonas Hafström, and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN).
“This effort is not about grandstanding or showdown, but about action on a practical step that we hope will lead to change over time,” declared Nossel before an audience of US government and embassy officials from HRC member states. “[A human rights monitor] will carry the imprimatur of the entire international community and will deliver information and messages that will be difficult for Tehran to dismiss or counter.”
NIAC made early and sustained calls for a UN monitor on Iran, and worked with the Obama Administration and Congress to ensure the United States would vigorously back the measure and work to overcome opposition from countries that have traditionally been reluctant to support human rights action.
“The US was instrumental in building broad consensus at the UN to establish a monitor,” said Abdi. “This is a long overdue step that can provide real space for Iran’s human rights and democracy movement.”
In January of this year, 24 US Senators signed a letter, strongly supported by NIAC, that called for the Obama administration to make the passage of an Iran monitor a key priority at the Human Rights Council and conveying support for the Administration’s multilateral engagement on human rights.