UNITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly has strongly expressed its concerns over ongoing human rights violations in Iran.
“Unfortunately, as today’s resolution demonstrates, Iranians do not enjoy even basic human rights, such as freedom of assembly or religious belief, and it is their own government that is the chief violator of their rights,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014.
“This resolution is one of the few forms of support Iranian citizens have in the face of a regime that has for 35 years refused to uphold international human rights law.
“This is especially true for Iran’s Baha’is, the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, who continue to face systematic and widespread persecution solely because of their religious belief,” said Ms. Dugal.
The resolution, which was approved by a vote of 83 to 35 with 68 abstentions, expressed “deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations” in Iran.
It listed specific concerns over the “alarming high frequency” of executions in Iran, its use of torture, widespread restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression, discrimination against women, and the persecution of minorities, including members of the Baha’i Faith.
The vote confirms an earlier vote, taken in the Assembly’s Third Committee in November, on the same resolution.
It follows strongly worded reports from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, who both expressed alarm over broad and continuing human rights violations in Iran.
Mr. Ban’s report noted, for example, that there have been no improvements in the human rights of religious and ethnic minorities. “Religious minorities such as Baha’is and Christians face violations entrenched in law and in practice,” he wrote.
Dr. Shaheed also discussed a wide range of violations, from the lack of legal due process, especially for executions, and “continuing arbitrary arrests, detention and prosecutions of individuals for exercising their fundamental rights”.
Dr. Shaheed devoted ten paragraphs to the ongoing persecution of Iranian Baha’is, noting that they face wide-ranging discrimination in education and work, and that more than 100 Baha’is are in prison.
Introduced by Canada, the resolution had 45 other co-sponsors, and was the 27th resolution on human rights in Iran approved by the General Assembly annually since 1985.
Like previous resolutions, it called on Iran to cooperate with the UN, specifically by allowing the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran to visit the country.