Interim Report of the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 18, 2011

We welcome the first interim report by the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, and take note of his assessment regarding the Iranian government’s “pattern of systemic violation” of its citizens’ rights. The UN Secretary General’s report on Iran’s human rights situation also described an “intensified” campaign of abuses.

Under international law and its own constitution, Iran has committed to protect and defend the rights of its people, but officials continue to stifle all forms of dissent, persecute religious and ethnic minorities, harass and intimidate human rights defenders, and engage in the torture of detainees.

Iran’s brutal repression continues unabated despite repeated international condemnation and increasing isolation: opposition leaders Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, now entering their ninth month under house arrest without charges, are being held virtually incommunicado, while journalists and student activists are targeted for their “anti-regime” activities. Dr. Shaheed and the Secretary General both expressed alarm over the growing use of the death penalty for minor crimes, against minors and without due process.

We are particularly concerned that Iran has ignored its UN obligations and refused to cooperate with Dr. Shaheed. We call upon Iran’s government to allow the Special Rapporteur immediate access to the country.

We note that Iran has refused entry for any UN Special Rapporteur since 2005 in a blatant attempt to prevent the world from bearing witness to the abuses against its own people.

The United States stands by the Iranian people, who wish nothing more than to make their voices heard and hold their government accountable for its actions. We call upon the international community to use the occasion of these reports to redouble its condemnation of Iran’s disgraceful abuse of the human rights of all its citizens and demand a change.

PRN: 2011/1755