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Iran: Continuing human rights abuses highlighted by UN

By INU Staff

INU- The United Nations has publicly raised its concerns about the human rights abuses that continue in Iran. The report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran underlines a number of concerns that the UN urges the Iranian government to address in a timely manner.

The treatment of child offenders is particularly worrying because Iran has been executing those who were minors at the time of committing an alleged crime.

The Special Rapporteur, Javaid Rehman, reminds readers that international law prohibits the execution of child (defined as under the age of 18) offenders as per the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and customary international law. Despite being called upon by a number of human rights organisations to immediately halt all executions of child offenders, the Iranian government is still continuing with executions.

Rehman also drew attention to the grossly unjust trials and the violations of the right to legal representation. He said that prisoners are often tortured and their forced confessions are used as a basis for sentencing. “Many cases highlight violations of the right to defend oneself through legal assistance of one’s own choosing and the right to not to be compelled to testify against oneself or to confess guilt, which are guaranteed under article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the Islamic Republic of Iran has ratified.”

Rehman commented that the U.S. sanctions may worsen the human rights situation in Iran because of the restricted access to medical supplies. This is a very dangerous comment to make, because it passes the blame to the United States when in actual fact it is Iran’s responsibility. The sanctions include humanitarian exemptions however it is known that Iran has abused these exemptions in the past through the use of fake humanitarian organizations.

A number of EU companies do not want to get caught up in the U.S. sanctions so are not selling humanitarian goods to Iran. This is Iran’s responsibility to remedy this situation and to address the problems that resulted in the sanctions being re-imposed.

Nevertheless, the Special Rapporteur describes a concerning situation. He recommends that the Iranian government immediately stops executions for crimes that do not fall under the scope of the “most serious crimes”. He also urges the government to protect prisoners from torture and ill-treatment and to ensure that forced confessions are never used as evidence against the accused.

With regards to the denial of medical care and treatment being denied to prisoners, the Special Rapporteur reminds the Iranian government that “all individuals in custody” should “receive adequate, prompt and regular health care, including specialist care as needed, on the basis of their informed consent”. Rehman also called on the government to make sure that deaths in custody, of which there have been several in the recent past, should be “promptly, independently, impartially and effectively investigated by an independent competent authority with a view to bringing those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice”.

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