To: Member States of the UN General Assembly
We, the undersigned human rights organizations and press freedom groups, write to respectfully urge your government to vote in favor of the resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The final vote on this measure is scheduled to take place on December 20, 2012. This 67th UNGA provides an important opportunity to advance the concerns of the international community with respect to ongoing human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has increasingly and systematically repressed its population and committed widespread abuses with impunity. The recent international attention on the cases of blogger Sattar Beheshti’s death during arbitrary detention and human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh’s health condition during her hunger strike in Evin prison are two disturbing, yet not isolated, examples of the plight of hundreds of political prisoners in Iran, as well as the abysmal status of human rights and freedom in the country.
In his most recent report to the UNGA, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, described a “deeply troubling picture” of overall conditions inside the country and detailed the ill-treatment of activists, journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition, students, women, and ethnic and religious minorities—many of whom face threats, arbitrary detention, torture, sexual abuse, and even death for exercising their fundamental rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international laws and standards, which Iran has agreed to uphold. Despite repeated requests, Iranian authorities have refused access to the country for any UN human rights mechanism for the past seven years, and have systematically worked to dismantle the work of independent civil society and human rights defenders in the country.
Until the Islamic Republic of Iran stops its repressive practices against its people and begins cooperation and compliance with its international human rights obligations, the international community has a responsibility to stand up for the Iranian people and hold their government to account for its vast transgressions. To that end, this resolution is an important mechanism for the international community to stand with one voice in protection of the Iranian people’s basic human rights. The resolution crucially details the extensive violations by the Iranian authorities, including those that are widespread and/or systematic in nature, as well as strongly urges the government to undertake the necessary reforms to carry out free and fair presidential elections in June 2013.
We urge your support for this resolution, and we further request that your government reject any motion for no-action on this measure that would prevent consideration of the resolution on its merits. On December 20th, and with your government’s support, the UN General Assembly will send a strong signal to Iranian Government authorities to put an end to their abusive practices.
Roya Boroumand, Executive Director
The Boroumand Foundation
Joel Simon, Executive Director
Committee to Protect Journalists
Sarah Leah Whitson, Director, Middle East and North Africa
Human Rights Watch
Gissou Nia, Executive Director
Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
Iran Human Rights
Shadi Sadr, Executive Director
Justice for Iran
Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Executive Director
United for Iran