March 15, 2013 – New York – AJC urges all 47 member states of the UN Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the principal UN investigator of human rights abuses in Iran. The position is currently held by Special Rapporteur Dr. Ahmed Shaheed. A vote on renewal will take place next week in Geneva.
“The Special Rapporteur mandate is an essential tool for the international community to address the Iranian government’s egregious human rights violations,” said E. Robert Goodkind, Chair of AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. “Its renewal should have the full support of all members of the Human Rights Council.”
In his February 2013 report to the Council, Shaheed emphasized the continuing “widespread systemic and systematic violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” which, he added, have increased in severity since the creation of the Special Rapporteur on Iran position two years ago.
Similar concerns over Iran’s continuing human rights violations were detailed in the UN Secretary General’s report, also presented at the current session of the Council. He cited increased repression of freedom of expression in the period leading up to presidential elections in June.
Both reports condemn the harassment and arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, women’s rights advocates, religious and ethnic minorities, journalists, lawyers and opposition activists.
Shaheed’s implementation of the highest standards of rigor, consistency and impartiality in investigating human rights abuses have gained attention in the main UN human rights bodies – the Human Rights Council and General Assembly – to the scope and severity of human rights violations in Iran.