UN Should Pass Resolution Condemning Iran Human Rights Abuses

Washington, DC

As the United Nations General Assembly prepares to vote on a Canadian-sponsored resolution condemning ongoing human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Freedom House joins Iranian pro-reform activists and other human rights groups in urging member states to support the resolution.  

The draft resolution, which should come up for a vote at the end of the week, highlights “ongoing and recurring” human rights violations including torture, extra-judicial executions of adults and juveniles, repression of women, religious persecution, and restrictions on freedom of expression and association. It also calls on the UN’s existing special rapporteurs to take a particular interest in Iran and strongly urges the Iranian government to cooperate with international human rights mechanisms.

“Although we would have liked to see a resolution that went further in calling for the creation of a new mechanism—in the form of a new special rapporteur dedicated exclusively to Iran—we applaud Canada’s leadership on this issue and call on other delegations to join in condemning Iran’s human rights record.” said Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor.

Human rights abuses have been particularly egregious in the aftermath of Iran’s contested election in June 2009. There have been confirmed reports of people beaten and shot during peaceful protests and of torture and rape of prisoners in detention.  Iranian authorities have confirmed approximately 4,500 arrests surrounding the post-election unrest, with 89 convictions in post-election trials, 5 of which were capital sentences. Other reports cite up to 72 people killed in detention or in clashes with security services.

The action by Canada has drawn enthusiastic support from Iranian pro-reform activists who join Freedom House and others in urging the resolution’s passage.

“The world should not provide either moral or financial support to a government brought to power by an IRGC coup which does not support the democratic aspirations or the human rights of its own people. The oppressed people of Iran need to understand that they are not alone,” said Mohsen Sazegara, a journalist and prominent pro-democracy activist.

"The Iranian government, which ignores the most fundamental rights of its people and threatens world peace by developing nuclear weapons, is not a government that can be trusted. The Green Movement is asking the world to support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people and engage in the kind of trade that provides democracy for Iran in return for peace for the world,” said Mohsen Makhbalbaf, the international voice of Iran’s “Green Wave of Freedom,” the protest movement born after the election of June 12, 2009.

“We want the international community to strongly condemn the massive campaign of death and destruction, grave violations of human rights, and all other illegal actions carried out by Iran's ruling junta in the aftermath of the June parliamentary elections,” said Dr. Ramin Ahmadi, co-founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center.

"The nuclear issue has been used by the Islamic Republic to avoid international scrutiny of its fraudulent election and mounting human rights violations,” said Akbar Atri, a leading student activist and democracy advocate who served on the board of the Office for the Consolidation of Unity, Iran’s most prominent student organization.”While it seeks a solution on the nuclear front, the international community must pressure the regime to release political prisoners and allow the full spectrum of liberties, including free and fair elections.  Anything less will amount to a validation of a regime fast losing all semblance of legitimacy.”

Mohsen Makhbalbaf , Dr. Ahmadi, Akbar Atri, and Mohsen Sazegara are available for comment. If you wish to speak with them, please contact them individually at the contact information below:

Mohsen Sazegara: 612-240-6681
Dr. Ramin Ahmadi: 203-687-7394
Mohsen Makhbalbaf: 703-650-9536
Akbar Atri: 203-444-9761

Iran is ranked Not Free in the 2009 edition of Freedom in the World, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in the 2009 version of Freedom of the Press.

For more information on Iran, visit:

Freedom in the World 2009: Iran
Freedom of the Press 2009: Iran

Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has been monitoring political rights and civil liberties in Iran since 1972.

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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