Arseh Sevom — This week the mother of Neda, the young woman whose death was captured on camera during the demonstrations following the 2009 presidential elections, reminds us of international women’s day. (h/t United4Iran). Ban Ki Moon makes a statement for an end to violence against women and children. Iran’s sociologists report on growing sexual [...]
This week in the review of civil society in Iran we mark the passing of religious scholar and political dissident Ahmad Ghabel and the award of the prestigious Sakharov Prize to filmmaker Jafar Panahi and imprisoned lawyer Nassrin Sotoudeh. The non-binding Iran Tribunal closed in The Hague. United for Iran released a report highly critical [...]
COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION EN Brussels, 23 March 2012 7853/12 PRESSE 119 Human rights violations: Council tightens sanctions against Iran The Council today reinforced EU restrictive measures adopted in response to serious human rights violations in Iran and prolonged them by 12 months. The Council added 17 persons responsible for serious human rights violations [...]
The chances are high that you will be reading this review during the first days of the new Iranian year. Arseh Sevom wishes you a good new year. Last year was disheartening for many civil society actors in Iran, as the regime shut down organizations, arrested many, and harassed even more. Some bloggers are writing [...]
In this issue of the weekly review, Arseh Sevom provides an overview of the economic situation as the New Year approaches and Asghar Farhadi’s call for the reinstatement of Iran’s House of Cinema. We join Amnesty International in celebrating the activism of Iran’s women and listen to their voices against war. We mark the release [...]
All you need to know: a quick breakdown of findings from Dr. Ahmed Shaheed’s UN report This summary provides readers with a quick overview of the human rights report provided by Dr. Ahmad Shaheed to the UN Human Rights Council. It is reposted with permission from the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (7 March 2012) [...]
On January 31, 2012, The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President
of the Commission, Catherine Ashton, issued a statement of concerned about the state of journalists and netizens in Iran. She calls for Iran to review harsh sentences and for a moratorium on the death penalty. The text of the statement follows:
“I am extremely worried about the growing harassment and persecution of journalists and internet bloggers in Iran. The right to free speech is an internationally enshrined fundamental human right, which Iran itself has freely signed up to respect and protect. In the past few weeks, security forces have reportedly arrested many journalists, including Sahameddin Bourghani, Parastoo Dokouhaki, Hassan Fathi, Farshad Ghorbanpour, Ehsan Houshmand, Fatemeh Kheradmand, Saeed Madani, Shahram Manouchehri, Marzieh Rasouli, Arash Sadeghi and Mohammad Soleimani Nia. I call on the Iranian authorities to release these journalists and restore their rights to freely communicate their views.
Arseh Sevom and United4Iran urge you to send letters protesting discriminatory laws. Click here to join the campaign.
The UN Secretary General, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, the UN General Assembly, and the UN Human Rights Council have repeatedly called on Iran to revise its penal code to adhere to international human rights standards. In February 2010, the Iranian government accepted specific recommendations made under its Universal Periodic Review to ensure that its laws were in conformity with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which it is a party.
Nonetheless, today, Iran’s parliament is preparing to pass the “Islamic Penal Bill” – legislation that flouts its legal obligations under the ICCPR. The legislation endangers free expression and reinforces laws that violate the rights of Iranian citizens. The bill fails to prohibit stoning, lashing, and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishments; redress discriminatory laws; or, raise the age of majority for girls and boys. In a particularly worrisome clause, the bill expands punishment for “actions against national security”, a charge that has routinely been used to persecute dissidents.
Antonia Bertschinger tells us of her work at the Swiss section of Amnesty International. She tells us how she came to be involved with human rights work. Bertschinger came to the work via her interest in Afghanistan. She studied Persian in university and worked in the Kabul Museum in Switzerland. “I loved working there because it helped me learn so much about Afghanistan. This did some awareness raising for me to learn what it’s like to live in a country where all the rights are violated, especially women’s rights, and which had such a long war, and so many other disasters. She ended up working in the Foreign Ministry in Iran rather than win Afghanistan, however. It was there that she met so many people working to build a better society and for the protection of human rights. Bertschinger asks of her own home in Europe, “How can we ever forget that human rights and the rule of law are the basis of our good life?”
Rania F is a Lebanese human rights defender working in Jordan with IKV Pax Christi. Rania spoke to Arseh Sevom about her experiences working in the region. She spoke about human rights, the changes in the Arab region, women’s rights, militarization, and minorities. “There is a lot of fear in our region,” she stated. “We [...]
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The UN Special Rapporteur has released an initial report on the human rights situation in Iran. The report highlights several disturbing trends, which serve to cripple civil society activism. The report shows a concerted effort to prevent dissent and the development of an independent civil society by severely punishing those who speak out or act in a way deemed inappropriate or threatening by the state. In many cases, punishment is exacted for activities that were once sanctioned. The report demonstrates a clear trend towards increased state violence and disregard for its own legal system and constitution.
Some of the trends revealed in the report include:
- Exorbitant bails
- Persistent punishments
- Lack of due process
- High number of executions
- Muzzling activists and critics
- Religious intolerance
- Denial of health care