The United Nations Council on Human Rights had its 16 session from 10 March to 23 in Geneva, during which Iranians from across Europe held talks, demonstrations and lobbied the delegates to vote for special rapporteur to be sent to Iran.
The fist side session was held on 10 March, where speakers from across the board reported on the human rights violations in Iran. Dr Mostafa Azmayesh, International of International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights in Iran spoke about the suppression of Gonabadi Dervishes in Iran. Dr morad Golmoradi spoke about the suppression of “Dervishes of Ahleh Hagh” in Kurdistan. Nazenin ansari, journalist and diplomatic editor of weekly London Keyhan read a letter written by the imprisoned Ayatollah Boroujerdi Kazemaini who is being held for more than 4 years in prison and his followers including a number of women had been detained as well. Dayan Alaie spoke about the situation of the Bahais in Iran.During this session, Mr Deyhim of the Islamic Republic of Iran replied to some of the concerns raised by the speakers and supported the Islamic Republic actions in suppressing various groups and trends of thought in the country.
On 11 March a session held by Dr Ziba MirHosseini and a panel of experts on Islam and the issue of “Zina “ or adultery in Islam raised a number of vital issues regarding the revival of the law of “Zina” to suppress sexuality and control women. Dr Mirhosseini and a colleague,Vanja Hamzic have recently published a book: Control and Sexuality (The Revival if Zina Laws in Muslim Countries) which was launched on the day.
The second session; Torture, Violence in the Islamic Republic began with a panel of three. Rouhi shafii, Director of ICAVI spoke of violence and its implications and implementation in Iran. Antonia Bertshinger of Amnesty International spoke of the increasing number of executions in Iran since the beginning of the current year.Puyan Mahmudian, a student from Tehran University spoke of the repression and violence against students. The issue of Mourning Mothers was raised and Rouhi Shafii explained about the nature of Groups of Mourning Mothers in Iran and their chain support groups outside the country.
On 12 March, Iranians present in Geneva held an-all-day demonstrations in front of the UN buildings.
On 14 March, Secretary General’s report on Iran was presented to the Council. Simultaneously, Iranians held demonstrations which lasted for hours.
On 15 March the rights of minorities and ethnic groups was discussed. Mr Kaveh Ahangaran from Kurdistan Democratic Party spoke of the regions problems. He emphasised on two key problems: a- the rights of nationals and b- women’s rights. He reiterated that in the Islamic Republic constitution “the political structure of such social convention is in essence against human rights”.
On 16 March, women’s rights was the focus of side sessions. Rezvan Moghadam, one of ICAVI founders and women’s rights activist spoke in detail about the violation of the rights of women and presented a long list of women who are currently in prison charged with various crimes, those who have been kidnapped, raped and murdered and those who had been kidnapped and their families were unable to trace them. Interesting to note was the approach and the behaviour of the vast number of the Iranian delegation who claimed to represent an independent “NGO” from the country but instead their hostile approach and the support given by the official representatives of the Islamic Republic proved otherwise. Another interesting observation was the presence of hundreds of Iranians from around Europe who lobbied the delegates on the abuse of human rights in Iran.
Finally, on 23 March UN Human Rights council voted on the special Rapporteur to Iran. 22 countries voted for the motion: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Guatemala, Hungry, Japan, Maldiv,Mexico, Norway, Poland, Maldova, South Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, Ukraine, UK, US, Zambia . Seven voted against: Bangladesh, china, Cuba, Ecuador, Mauritania, Pakistan and Russia. Fourteen countries abstained.End
Appendix No 1:
UN General Secretary report:
Appendix No 2:
Report from the 10 March Side Session on the abuse of the rights of minorities:
Appendix No 3:
Rouhi Shafii :
Violence and discrimination, ingrained components of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!
My talk is about violence in Iran and its consequences for the Iranian people.First, I’m going to briefly give a definition of violence and methods of implicating violence. Then I will relate it to the Iranian situation. Violence is the use of force either physically, psychologically, verbally or visually, politically, educationally and economically, on an individual, group or society as a whole.Violence is an act used by individuals or groups to gain power through the use of force.Violence is a method or system used by individuals or groups unable to maintain non-violent methods of communications.Violence is a strategy taken by individuals, groups or states, to resolve contradictions and tensions.
Various types of violence
State over peopleGroup over group or individualsIndividuals over individuals or groupsAll forms of violence contradict and abuse the basic rights and freedomsof individuals, groups or the society as a whole. Violence can be imposed and institutionalised in the public spheres such as workplaces and street, civil society institutions such as societies, clubs, groups, political parties or the private sphere such as homes. Spheres of implementation of violence are wide and unlimited. The most common sphere is the society as a whole, where people’s rights are violated due to their association with a political party, organisation or ideological trend of thought or gender tendencies. Violence can be institutionalised systematically and harmoniously by the state or organised groups supported by the state. The most obvious forms of violence is discrimination which is imposed against women and other non-conformist groups or individuals. Discrimination can have no boundaries and can develop in the economy, politics, education and culture or in the private sphere.In a country such as Iran which is ruled by a group or groups of people with no regards to the complexities of modern Iranian society, resorting to discrimination, and violence has become common practice. For the past 32 years in Iran, violence and deceit as a strategy have replaced the strategy of tolerance, dialogue and peaceful co-existence among the politicians and the people.In our country Iran, the president and other government functionaries go through the tight selecting process and chosen by the ruling elite to be elected by the people. In the modern world and democracies, people select and elect their candidates and political leaders and have the right to control their behaviour all through their serving time. Democratic process in Iran as claimed by the Iranian government, is only and only on the paper and is void of substance. The strategy of deceit has demonstrated itself in the last presidential elections. As people demonstrated their objections to the vote rigging their response was tear gas, rubber bullets, detention, torture, rape abduction and execution.In democratic countries where people elect their representatives, they have the right to un-elect them if they violate people’s trust. This is carried out by non-violent negotiations and parliamentary processes by and through people’s representatives and the governments. In a country such as Iran, which is ruled by autocracy, resorting to such methods is beyond the reach of people.
The Islamic Republic has the monopoly over all resources, economy, politics, culture and civil society and is able and has demonstrated that it will resort to violence directly, through the use of force and mobilising its revolutionary guard, militia, intelligence, or indirectly through imposing education and culture or deprivation of the society of its individual and group rights. In democratic countries, the governments resort to tolerance, dialogue with the people and their representatives to utilise and develop the society’s capacity and capabilities and build trust and promote hope among the people and the elected ruling class.
In Iran and from the onset of the establishment of the Islamic Republic, it has alienated the people with the principle of trust and non-discriminatory practices. The inherent violence in the beliefs and the behaviour and the practices of the Islamic Republic of Iran has created a society which has developed a chronic-violent behaviour and mistrust and self-contradiction. Contradiction between the people and Islamic Republic have deepened and institutionalised throughout the 32 years of arbitrary rule.The establishment of the Islamic Republic was based on the Islamic interpretation of one reading of Islam and therefore, the constitution, the judiciary and civil laws did not equally regarded the right of all the peoples of Iran.
In 1979, the Iranian society was redesigned to suit the aspirations of the newly formed state, where from the onset it demonstrated its disregard to the complexities of modern world and as the contradiction between the state and the people increased so did the methods of suppression and violence. The increased intervention and the influence of the revolutionary guards and the intelligence in the economy, politics and the judiciary have worsened the situation gradually.
Here, I will go into some details on the discrimination and violence in Iran. From the onset, women as half the population were regarded and demoted to second class citizens and their life in its entirety went under the control of religion. Billions were spent towards the establishment of various corpses to control women’s dress code on the streets. Days and years and billions were wasted on the ‘women’s issue’ through decrees, circulars, change in the school books and educational establishments. The judiciary gave the militia and intelligence a free hand to harass, detain and insult and belittle women. They were deprived of the right to divorce, to choose place of residence, profession, travel and education. The custody of children was taken away from them. They were discriminated harassed in public places. The right to their bodies was transferred to men. Men have the right to rape them in marriage or kill them as their honour. The respect they enjoyed through tradition as women, was replaced by breaking doors and taking women away in the middle on nights in front of husbands and children to unknown detention centres. Disrespect of women has become a normal practice through intimidation, use of violent language and rape while in custody.The only sphere that women have remained equal to men is prison, torture and execution. Violence in the Islamic Republic is not limited to gender discrimination. Though individual freedoms and civil rights has been stipulated in the constitution, the strategy of zero tolerance, ban on associations and censorship of press and printing materials and on the internet and cyber space; harassment and detention of activists has deprived the Iranian civil society to flourish.
Iran does not have an independent judiciary system. Judges and prosecutors are chosen from amongst those who have a disregard for justice or justice has a different interpretation from what justice shall be. Due to the increased active intervention of the intelligence in the judiciary, detainees are deprived of fair trials. Lawyers are deprived to see their defendants or review files and defend them. Trials last few minutes or hours and detainees are accused of imaginary crimes and sentenced to long-term prison sentences or prison in exile and sent away to remote locations to cause them further hardship. The judiciary system has transferred part of the law from the public to the private. The law of Ghesas or retribution had potentially created a murderer out of every Iranian citizen. A juvenile called Ehsan was murdered in a street fight by another juvenile, Behnoud. Ehsan’s mother was given the honour to pull the stool from under Behnoud’s feet which she did and killed him. Shahla Jahed who was accused of murdering Laleh Saharkhizan was hanged in prison by Laleh’s brother. Ameneh, a young woman who has been blind on both eyes by acid thrown by her ex-boyfriend has been given the go-ahead to throw acid into the young man’s eyes to blind him.
The mass killings of early 1980s, the chain killings of the 1990s, the murder of individuals outside the country, such as Shahpour Bakhtiar and Fereydoun Farokhzad and the murder of individuals inside the country such as Zahra Baniyaquob, a young doctor, who was detained while walking with her fiancé in a park in Hamadan and murdered an hour later; Zahra kazemi, Canadian, Iranian journalist in the Evin prison a few days after detention, Zahra Bahrami, the Dutch, Iranian citizen who was accused of various crimes and killed before being tried; the killings in Kahrizak detention centre after the 2009 disputed presidential elections and the murder of the young doctor who attended to the detainees all indicate the abhorrence of the situation of the violence in Iran.
In demonstrations of 14 February 2011, the number of detainees is unknown. What happens to them is evident from the treatment of anxious families at the gates of the Evin prison. The final chapter of violence in Iran can be closed by the mention of the kidnapping of the two presidential candidates, Mir-hossein Moudavi and Zahra Rahnevard and Mehdi Karubi and Fatemeh Karubi who were put under house arrest and later taken away among unprecedented security precautions.
Ladies and gentlemen, violence in Iran which is derived directly from the policies of mismanagement of the rulers of Iran cannot be summarised in few minutes talk. With developments in the region we hope to see developments in our country towards non-violence and prosperity.
Appendix no 4:
United Nations Human Rights council report on the decision to send special rapporteur to Iran:
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