Originally published in Foreign Policy Association Blogs
by Reza Akhlaghi
As the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee prepares to vote on the resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights in Iran on November 19, 25 human rights organizations have joined together to urge member states to vote in favor of the resolution.
In a letter sent to UN member states, the organizations note that by passing the resolution, “the UN General Assembly will send a strong signal to the government and all Iranians that the world is invested in lasting human rights changes in their country.”
Some specific issues the letter highlights include the continued house arrest—now over 1,000 days—of three opposition leaders without charge or trial; the ongoing persecution of religious minorities; the exceptionally high rate of executions per capita, the highest in the world; and the deprivation of Iranians’ access to information and freedom of expression in the country.
In part, the letter reads as follows:
We, the undersigned human rights and civil society organizations, write to urge your government to vote in favor of resolution A/C.3/68/L.57 on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, scheduled to take place this Tuesday, 19 November 2013.
This year provides a crucial opportunity to highlight ongoing human rights concerns identified by the international community and Iranian civil society. The new administration of President Hassan Rouhani has pledged to tackle a range of human rights issues in Iran, by eliminating discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities, and ensuring respect for the right to freedom of expression, among other measures. Despite these welcome signals, human rights abuses are deeply rooted in Iran’s laws and policies, many of which pose a serious barrier to the executive branch’s ability to push through much needed rights reforms. As a result, the human rights situation in Iran continues to be marked by routine violations of civil and political rights as well as economic, social, and cultural rights.