His Excellency Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani
Head of the Human Rights Council of the Judiciary
His Excellency Alireza Avai
Head of the Tehran Judiciary
His Excellency Abbas Jaafari Dolatabadi
The purpose of this letter is to request permission for Human Rights Watch to come to Iran in order to present to the press, the public, and the government, its forthcoming report on the human rights situation of Iranians who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or individuals who engage in consensual same-sex conduct (collectively "sexual minorities").
This letter follows our November 4, 2010 correspondence to you.
In that earlier letter, we informed you of our research into this topic and shared some of our preliminary findings with you. We asked that you allow Human Rights Watch to send a delegation to Iran in order to further our research and meet with Iranian officials, and provided you with an opportunity to submit any pertinent information you feel should be included in our research by November 25, 2010. Additionally, we informed you that we plan on officially releasing our findings in the form of a report in the coming months.
To date, we are unaware of any responses from your government to Human Rights Watch's aforementioned requests. If you have provided us with a response and we have for some reason not received it, please let us know as soon as possible.
We will be happy to provide you with an advance copy of the report as soon as its Farsi version is finalized.
It is the general policy of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division to release reports inside the country of concern in an effort to provide the government, the local press, and members of the public the opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue and debate regarding the subject of the report, in this case, the human rights situation of Iran's sexual minorities. Accordingly, we wish to present our forthcoming report on Iran at a press conference in Tehran.
We hope that you will agree to provide visas to three Human Rights Watch staff members so that they can come to Iran and hold such a press conference and meet with government officials to discuss the human rights situation of Iran's sexual minorities and the recommendations we address to Iranian government authorities.
If we do not hear from you in the coming days, we will release this report on December 15, 2010, outside of Iran.
I would be happy to discuss with you any aspect of the report - its findings, recommendations, and methodology, as well as the manner that we make it public.
We hope that you will allow us this opportunity, and look forward to your response.
Sarah Leah Whitson
Middle East & North Africa Division