Iran’s UPR response offers bleak outlook for Baha’is and human rights

GENEVA — Iran’s limited and conditional acceptance of just two out of ten recommendations made by other governments about its ongoing persecution of Baha’is today suggests there will be no significant change in government policy in the near future – and a bleak outlook for human rights generally in Iran.

„The sad reality is that Iran has largely refused to accept recommendations made by the international community that it end discrimination against Baha’is, offering instead to the Human Rights Council only token concessions on the issue,“ said Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community in Geneva.

She noted that Iran gave only partial acceptance to two recommendations that specifically mentioned Baha’is in its response to October’s Universal Periodic Review at the Council, rejecting completely the other eight.

„Other governments in October offered some very strong and significant recommendations about how Iran could end its systematic persecution of Baha’is, but Iran has walked away from them almost entirely, accepting only two in a limited and conditional manner,“ said Ms. Ala’i.

„Based on this – and their past record of failure to live up to recommendations made at the 2010 UPR – we doubt there will be any improvement in the near future for Baha’is, who are persecuted in Iran solely for their religious beliefs,“ said Ms. Ala’i.

In a statement read today to the Council, Ms. Ala’i observed that during the October UPR, „Mr. Javad Larijani, the head of the delegation, claimed that Baha’is ‚are dealt [with] under the so called citizenship contract‘ and ‚enjoy all the privileges of any citizen in Iran,‘ and that ‚they have professors at the university‘ and ’students at the university.‘

„But recently Ayatollah Bojnourdi, who was one of the drafters of the Charter for Citizenship Rights, publicly said: ‚We never say that Baha’is have the right to education; Baha’is don’t even have citizenship rights!‘

„This is the sad truth of the reality in Iran,“ Ms. Ala’i told the Council.

Ms. Ala’i expressed the hope that, in its desire to prove to the world its oft-stated respect for the Universal Periodic Review, Iran will begin with the easy step of allowing Baha’is unrestrained access to higher education, a development that would be in line with the two recommendations it has partially accepted.

What Iran accepted and rejected today

At Iran’s formal UPR session in October, other governments made 291 recommendations about how Iran might improve its human rights record. At its outcome session today, Iran accepted 130 of those. It gave partial acceptance to 59 of them, and it rejected completely 102 of them. Of those that mention Baha’is, two fell into the partial acceptance category, one from Chile and one from the Czech Republic. They were:

138.111. Adopt provisions to prevent all forms of discrimination against women and girls and, in particular, promote access to higher education for members of the Baha’i community and other religious minorities (Chile);

138.131. Review its legislation and policy so as to ensure freedom of religion of persons belonging to religious minorities, including Baha’i, as well as protection of their other human rights without any discrimination (Czech Republic);

Their partial acceptance, however, was conditioned by Iran’s statement „that full implementation of some of these recommendations is contrary to our constitution, basic laws and Islamic values“ and „the course of action required to amend current laws need time and lengthy deliberations among different constituent parts in the legislative process.“

The eight recommendations regarding Baha’is which were rejected are as follows:

138.125. Put an end to acts of repression against ethnic and religious minorities, in particular Baha’is, and take effective measures to put an end to discriminatory policies against them (Luxembourg);

138.126. Eliminate reported discrimination against religious minorities such as the Baha’is and offer better legal protection to such communities (Sierra Leone);

138.128. Take measures to ensure non-discrimination in law and in practice against ethnic and religious minorities, including arbitrary detention and exclusion from higher education and government employment, as well as governmental interference in private employment, against persons belonging to the Baha’i community (Sweden);

138.129. Cease all discrimination against members of religious and ethnic minorities, including Baha’is, Dervishes, Christians, Ahwazi Arabs, Balochs and Kurds, and ensure respect for freedom of religion (Australia);

138.130. End discrimination in law and practice against all religious and ethnic minorities such as Baha’is, Sufis, Kurds and Sunni Arabs, and ensure full protection of their rights (Austria);

138.132. Put an end to discrimination and repression against people because of their ethnic and religious affiliation, including Baha’is, Kurds, Ahwazis and Christians (France);

138.133. End discrimination in law and practice against religious and ethnic minorities, including the Baha’i community (Lithuania);

138.134. Take steps to prevent discrimination and incitement to hatred against the Baha’i or any other ethnic or religious minority, regardless of whether it is officially recognized (Mexico).

Source: BAHAI World News

No Expected Changes in Upcoming UPR on Iran

dead end

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism by the UN Human Rights Council(HRC) to review the state of human rights in 42 states once every 4.5 years. Its recommendations are handed over to the reviewed country which can either accept them or not. The working group in charge of the UPR is composed of UN members, including the State under Review (SuR), but is open also to relevant NGO’s.

The next UPR on Iran is scheduled for the 31st of October.

Iran implements 2.3% of all recommendation from last UPR

In the last UPR on Iran from 2010, a total of 212 recommendations were placed by 51 countries – Iran accepted 126 recommendations.

To date, it has implemented 5 and partially implemented another 30. The unimplemented recommendations represent the suffering of Iranians under a regime which does not tolerate human rights. You can find an interactive map of all recommendations here.


The lack of implementation doesn’t come as a big surprise for people interested in human rights in Iran but it should shake up a bit the supporters of the regime in Iran. More importantly, it should serve as a clear mirror to shatter the hypocrisy of Iranian leaders who keep on denying that the regime in Tehran is a serial offender of human rights.

Two people who should answer to the UPR but won’t

Two people in particular should have to answer openly to the UPR on Iran.

The first is Javad Larijani, Iran’s human rights chief.

Unfortunately, he systematically denies any problem of human rights in Iran, believes that being gay is a sickness and condones the use of torture, stoning and hanging because they are an integral part of Sha’ariah law. He also denies the existence of political prisoners, religious persecution, and basically any reports of human rights violations in Iran. Based on his modem operandi, he will probably evade and/or deny all accusations and follow up with accusations of his own that the UPR is political and does not accept the cultural and religious laws on which the Islamic Republic of Iran was born.

Chances are, he will evade, deny, accuse and rant profusely and won’t come even close to accept, answer or change anything that turns up in the review.

The second person who should answer to the UPR is President Rouhani.

Rouhani, pegged early on as a moderate, won his presidency on a ticket of change inforeign policy and human rights.

He did live up partially to half of his promises: His open foreign policy led to the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 and to an unceasing list of foreign delegations of diplomats and businessmen to Tehran who are eager for sanctions to be lifted in order to make money…lots of money. The result of his efforts is evident in a big boost in the economy as well as numerous political and economic deals within and outside of the framework of the sanctions.

Unfortunately, Rouhani’s interior policy doesn’t live up to his promises and can be summed up in one word: silence. Rouhani has, for over a year, managed to dodge any questions regarding human rights violations in Iran even when faced with mounting evidence of abuses including state-promoted gender segregation, the highest rate of hangings to date, brutal cases of torture, amputations and floggings, imprisonment of political opponents and journalists, persecution of religious women, gays and religious minorities, clamping down on the freedom of speech and use of the internet and on and on and on.

Here’s a video which outlines the gap between his rhetoric and the reality in Iran.

He has remained silent to date and will probably remain silent.

On human rights and WMD’s

The violations of human rights in Iran and the repeated denials of the regime in Tehran symbolize not only the suffering of the Iranian people but also testify to the regime’s insistence to live according to its own perceptions with total disregard to international norms. The regime in Tehran is not open to criticism from within or from without and prefers to work only through the principles of the Islamic Revolution and the word of their Supreme Leader Khamenei.

It is this mindset that has led to the impasse on Tehran’s nuclear program as a result of multiple accounts of breaches of IAIA requirements and a low level of transparency. The growing suspicions on a military aspect to the nuclear program led to the crippling sanctions which, in a way, brought on the presidency of Rouhani and the need to negotiate. Some commentators believe that Rouhani is focusing first on his foreign policy and that once he inks a nuclear deal he will try to make right on his promises for better human rights. Maybe…or maybe the regime will continue to thumb its nose at its people and the world.

Source: Iran 24/07

Confront Iran’s Human Rights Violations through Personal Stories of Persecution

Impact Iran Coalition and International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran draw attention to Iran’s upcoming human rights review
October 14, 2014— Impact Iran, a coalition of human rights organizations, in partnership with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, today launched a new video, “Promises Made, Promises Broken.” The video is part of a series aimed at drawing attention to Iran’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council on October 31, 2014. A new video will be released each week leading up to the review.

Their first video features nine persecuted Iranians who powerfully tell their stories of repression, harassment, detainment and torture in their own words. While these activists, bloggers, lawyers and students put a face to Iran’s human rights abuses, their stories are shared by many Iranians whose rights are violated every day.

“’Promises Made, Promises Broken‘ tells the story of Iran’s human rights abuses through the compelling personal accounts of those who have experienced firsthand what it is like to live with this level of repression,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “These individuals were targeted because of their religious beliefs, their peaceful rights advocacy, their sexual orientation, and their ethnicity, which goes against all of Iran’s human rights commitments.”

Despite the fact that Iran accepted 126 recommendations from UN Human Rights Council member countries at its last UPR in 2010, it has not honored the majority of these commitments, and violations continue to occur. For example, Iran agreed to improve protections against torture and ill treatment of detainees. However, several of the Iranians featured in “Promises Made, Promises Broken” report being victims of physical and psychological torture during their unjust detainments. The video calls on viewers throughout the international community to raise their voices and hold Iran accountable for its track record on human rights.

An analysis of Iran’s UPR commitments is available at and

“As Iran’s second UPR approaches, it has never been more important that we take measures to ensure the Iranian government keeps its human rights promises,” said Mani Mostofi, Director of Impact Iran. “This video series puts human faces to each of Iran’s repressive practices and urges viewers to raise their voices in solidarity with these persecuted Iranians to hold Iran accountable.”


Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

Universal Periodic Review: JFI will address the medicalisation of sexual orientation and gender identity at UPR Pre-session

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| Justice for Iran (JFI) highlights urgent concerns in submission to the 20th session of UPR Working Group on Islamic Republic of Iran.

On 8 October, just days ahead of Iran’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR), JFI will make one of six presentations selected to inform UN delegates from around the world about the situation of human rights in Iran. During a Pre-Session event organized by UPR Info, the foremost NGO focused on this process, Shadi Amin, the co-founder of JFI and coordinator of Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network (6Rang) will deliver a statement based on JFI’s UPR submission. Amin will focus on the plight of LGBT citizens in Iran and, in particlar, her statement will address the issue of medicalisation of sexual orientation and gender identity. JFI will also invite states to make specific recommendations on sexual orientation and gender identity, including:

Pending full decriminalisation of same-sex sexual relations remove the death penalty and flogging for offences relating to consensual same-sex relations between adults;

  • Protect gender non-conforming people from harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture and other ill-treatment, whether by state or non-state actors;
  • Adopt a comprehensive legislation to streamline legal sex change procedures and protect the right to health of transsexuals, without imposing sterilisation and genital reassignment surgeries as a prerequisite for gender legal recognition;
  • Outlaw reparative therapies including electric shock therapies and psychoactive medications aimed at converting people’s sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • Exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and hold accountable surgeons who administer substandard or negligent sex reassignment surgeries without informed consent or in reckless disregard of international standards of care for transsexual people;
  • Respect the right to receive and impart health information including on sexual and reproductive matters;
  • Stop hate speech against people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity.

In addition, JFI’s recommendations on a variety of issues involving women’s rights, such as early marriage, right to bodily cover, reproductive rights and sexual torture will be made available to delegations attending the UPR pre-session.

Over the months of September and October, JFI experts have met with close to forty representatives of various member states of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and based on victim testimonies, documents, survivor interviews and documents shared details of human rights violations in Iran. As its first priority, JFI briefs member states about the fact that a mere 3 recommendations put forward to Iran during the first UPR in February 2010 were focused on LGBT rights. To remedy this deficit, JFI is pointing out the root-cause of this series of violations by highlighting at the UN level Iran’s policies to wrongfully medicalise sexual orientation and gender identity. To better raise awareness at the international level JFI advocacy contextualizes the violation of sexual rights of LGBT within the framework of gender-based policies of the Islamic Republic that treat women or femininity as inferior.

With regards to its next priority, that of women’s rights, JFI briefs member states that regardless of Iran’s decision to accept a number of recommendations focused on women’s rights during the first UPR, it has failed to deliver any measure of improvement. In particular, JFI emphasised that the rights of women and girls in Iran require far more discussion and action at the international level.

The presentations and presenters will inform participating States as they prepare their recommendations for Iran’s UPR review. JFI will maintain its active participation as a leading voice in the 2014 Iran UPR. More information on this significant process will be reflected in JFI’s work during the coming weeks.

Background information

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a new phenomenon in the world of human rights. It refers to a four-year cycle of cooperative review of the human rights records of all UN member states. Under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, it is lead by nations, meaning each state has the right to declare what actions they have taken to improve their human rights record in order to better align their national policies and praxis with their human rights obligations, and to address human right violations.

Iran’s first UPR took place in February 2010. A total of 53 delegations made 189 recommendations to Iran, 123 of which were accepted, while according to the Islamic Republic 21 were already implemented or in the process of implementation, and an additional 20 were under review, but 45 important recommendations were entirely rejected.

For more information please see:

Full text of JFI statement delivered at the UPR Pre-session

Medicalisation of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (JFI brief and recommendations on LGBT rights)

JFI brief and recommendations on LGBT rights in Iran

JFI brief and recommendations on early marriage in Iran

JFI brief and recommendations on right to bodily cover

JFI brief and recommendations on reproductive rights

JFI brief and recommendations on sexual torture

JFI’s UPR submission: Disciplining Bodies, Diagnosing Identities, Mandatory Veiling, Mandatory Sterilization, Sexual Torture and the Right to Bodily Integrity in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Campaign Posters Capture Rivalries

by Garrett Nada

In flashy campaign art, Iran’s six presidential candidates are pulling at public heartstrings and playing on haunting moments in Iranian history to rally votes. Posters are now plastered across billboards, fences, office blocks and the sides of cars as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus accounts—some of which are actually banned in Iran. Each candidate has his own buzzwords drawing on his past as a war hero, top adviser to the supreme leader, moderate cleric or peace negotiator. 

      Jalili is a war veteran who lost a leg fighting Iraq in the 1980s—and his posters ooze with sacrifice and nationalism. His slogan, “Resistance is the key to success,” draws on imagery from a war that ended a quarter century ago but still influences politics. This poster encourages Iranians to fulfill their national duty to vote while recalling their past duty to defend the country. A hardliner, Jalili has run the most ideological campaign of the six candidates. He is currently secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. Jalili accuses other candidates of being too soft on national security issues.
      Qalibaf is a “man of action”― and his posters gush with images of him on the job. Websites and blogs by the “Lovers of Qalibaf” depict the Tehran mayor overseeing the building of bridges, highways and parks to illustrate his slogan: “Jihadi management versus capitalism.” A pragmatic conservative, Qalibaf balances his image as a manager with security credentials. Four pictures on the left are from his days as a Revolutionary Guard on the Iran-Iraq war front.

Old War Haunts New Election

by Garrett Nada and Helia Ighani

A quarter century later, the Iran-Iraq War looms over Iran’s presidential election as if it happened yesterday. All six candidates participated in the grizzliest modern Middle East conflict as fighters, commanders or officials. Over the past month, the campaign has evolved into a feisty competition over who sacrificed and served the most in the eight-year war.
A leading candidate lost a leg. Another candidate commanded the Revolutionary Guards. A third liberated an oil-rich frontline city. A fourth brokered the dramatic ceasefire.

            During the final debate on June 7, candidates invoked their wartime experience during the “Holy Defense,” as it is officially dubbed in Iran, as a top credential for taking office. It clearly shaped the worldviews of all six, despite their disparate political affiliations as reformists, hardliners or independents.
            But experience during the 1980-1988 war is also emerging as an unspoken credential in facing the future, specifically a confrontation with the outside world over Iran’s controversial nuclear program. The debate resonated with language of resistance that echoed from the war, which claimed up to 1 million casualties.
            Iran’s presidential contest illustrates how the war generation is now competing to take over the leadership from the first generation of revolutionaries. Four out of the six candidates were connected to the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s most powerful military organization. Over the past decade, the Guards have also played an increasing role in the economy and politics. Veterans won nearly a fifth of parliament’s 290 seats in 2004.
            The six candidates had vastly different roles. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Latest on the Race: Two Candidates Drop Out

Two candidates – one hardliner and one reformer  have quit Iran’s presidential race, leaving six competing in the June 14 poll. Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, a “principlist” hardliner and ex-parliamentary speaker, dropped out on June 10. Mohammad Reza Aref, a reformist and former vice president, followed on June 11. He received a letter from former President Mohammad Khatami advising him to step down. 
One reformer, two independents and three conservatives now remain in the running. The only candidate to gain from the smaller slate of candidates is Hassan Rouhani, who is now the lone reformist candidate. Khatami and other reformist leaders have declared their support for Rouhani, a cleric and former secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. Haddad-Adel did not officially endorse any other candidate. The following are excerpts from their withdrawal statements.

Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel
       “I announce my withdrawal from the presidential race to help promote the conservative victory… I hope that the conservatives win in the first round, but if it goes to the second round, the competition will be between two conservatives.
      “With my withdrawal I ask the dear people to strictly observe the criteria of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) when they vote for candidates… I advise the dear people to make a correct decision so that either a principlist wins in the first round, or if the election runs to a second round, the competition be between two principlists.”
Mohammad Reza Aref
      “At dusk on Monday… I received a letter from Mohammad Khatami… He said it would not be wise for me to remain in the race…In consideration of Mr. Khatami’s explicit opinion, and the experiences of two past presidential elections, I declare my withdrawal from the election campaign.”


Latest on the Race: Foreign Policy Split

Garrett Nada

            Iran’s third and final presidential debate on June 7 was by far the most heated. In often fiery exchanges, all eight candidates lashed out at their rivals, raising their voices and charging opponents with failing the revolution. The debate exposed deep divisions on how Iran should deal with the international community, economic sanctions, Syria, and nuclear policy. The candidates include two reformists, four “principlist” hardliners, and two independents.
     The third debate was technically about foreign policy. But the two reformists kept bringing the discussion back to basic freedoms—or lack of them. “Freedom of speech is my first goal in domestic policy,” said Hassan Rouhani. Mohammad Reza Aref blamed the principlist camp for virtually all of Iran’s problems. He admonished the conservative candidates for standing by current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his early years in office. Both men also repeatedly endorsed the achievements of former Mohammad Khatami, a reformer who was president from 1997 to 2005.
            The United States came up often in the debate. Rouhani credited himself with preventing a possible U.S. attack after 9/11. He served as Supreme National Security Council secretary and chief nuclear negotiator from 1989 to 2005. He was particularly tough on current negotiator and candidate Saeed Jalili for failing to do a deal with the international community. Jalili countercharged that Rouhani’s weakness had forced Iran to temporarily suspend uranium enrichment in 2003.
      Even the principlists― Mohammad Gharazi, Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, Saeed Jalili, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, Ali Akbar Velayati ― took shots at each other. Qalibaf (far left), a former Revolutionary Guards officer, highlighted his battlefield role during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. He accused Velayati, a former foreign minister, of sipping coffee with ex-French President Francois Mitterrand while Qalibaf was being shot at on the front.
            Jalili and Velayati, who are both widely considered close to the supreme leader, clashed over diplomatic strategy in one particularly unusual exchange. Jalili accused Velayati of being too conciliatory on Iran’s nuclear energy program. Velayati countered that Jalili had failed to get sanctions lifted or protect Iran’s rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. “Diplomacy is not a philosophy class,” charged Velayati. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iran Presidential Elections: Reformist candidate Aref says will not form coalition with Rohani

Source: Press TV

Iranian Reformist presidential candidate Mohammad Reza Aref says he has no intention of forming a coalition with rival candidate Hassan Rohani for the June 14 vote. In an interview with the Mehr New Agency on Sunday, Aref said he would stay in the presidential race „to the end.“

Iranian presidential candidates Mohammad Reza Aref (L) and Hassan Rohani
Source: Sharqh daily

„If elected president, I will form working groups and interact with the elite in various sectors in the country and announce my plans,“ Aref, a former first vice president, said.

Stating that a million job opportunities need to be created in Iran every year, the reformist candidate underlined the importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the process of job creation.

„ICT should create some 200,000 direct job opportunities in the country [annually],“ the presidential candidate said.

Aref faces seven rivals: Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, President of the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council Hassan Rohani, lawmaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, Secretary of Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and former Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Gharazi.

The president of Iran is elected for a four-year term in a national election.


Iran Decides: 2013

By Omid Irani

With the Iranian presidential elections visible on the near horizon, the people of Iran and the wider international community watch eagerly to see who will assume the ranks as the next ostensible leader of Iran. Outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reluctant to ride off into the sunset graciously and quietly, creating an interesting backdrop within the larger canvas of Iranian presidential politics. Wasting no time, the candidates vetted and cleared to run along with those individuals barred from running have already exchanged sharp words about the differing ideologies, policies, and tactics that will undeniably saturate the larger discourse covering Iranian politics. Trying to parse through the various oscillating campaign promises and rhetorical talking points of the different candidates can be truly a tall task to undertake for participating voters in Iran. Naturally, the prospect of returning to the ballot boxes for such a high-profile election for the first time since the notorious 2009 elections is still fresh on every Iranian’s mind and will surely prove too daunting for some as the flashbacks of the bloody aftermath have already prompted some individuals to boycott this year’s election.

One Man, One Vote – Cartoon by Mana
Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

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