(Geneva) A new visualization of human rights data by Impact Iran illustrates why the United Nations Human Rights Council should vote to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Sustained international attention is needed to address the gross human rights violations in Iran,” said Mani Mostofi, Director of Impact Iran, a human rights coalition. “The good news is that the work of the Special Rapporteur is having an impact on the ground.”
“While the overall situation in Iran is grave, the Council’s attention has led to changes in state behavior, from granting more rights to select prisoners to introducing a bill in Parliament that could eliminate the majority of executions in the country. Stopping the work now would halt this progress,” added Mostofi.
Iran remains the number one executor per capita in the world, executing between 966 and 1055 people in 2016, according to the Special Rapporteur. The vast majority of these executions are for drug-related offenses, which is not allowed under international law. Nonetheless, after years of attention paid to the death penalty by the Special Rapporteur, Iran’s parliament has introduced a draft amendment to its criminal laws that could eliminate executions for drug crimes.
“The fact that Iran’s parliament is even considering limiting its drug executions is a real breakthrough for the international community, but to ensure this draft amendment passes into law, and is enforced, will require the UN keep a close eye on the situation,” Mostofi explained.
Impact Iran’s visualization also illustrates Iran’s detention of at least 850 prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, including human rights defenders, labor leaders, and journalists.
Impact Iran shows how eight proposed laws and bills, if enacted, would violate the rights of women and further codify gender discrimination. Several of these bills would reverse policies, specifically family planning programs, which had once been celebrated worldwide. One such bill is the Comprehensive Population and Family Excellence Bill, which would, among other things, reduce protections against domestic violence and limit women’s access to work, in the name of promoting population growth.
“In the past, we have seen how Iranian officials have altered or withdrawn draft laws after the international community raises alarm,” Mostofi added. “By renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran, the Human Rights Council will send a clear signal to Iranian authorities that these anti-women laws should also be set aside.”
The Human Rights Council created the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran in 2011 and the mandate must be extended annually. Former Maldivian foreign minister and Essex Law School professor Ahmed Shaheed has held the position since 2011. An individual can serve as Special Rapporteur only for six years.