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U.S. Statement: Human Rights Council UPR of Iran
February 15, 2010


UN Human Rights Council


Consideration of UPR Reports

Report of the UPR Working Group on Iran

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner

(As prepared for delivery)

Thank you, Mr. President.

I am pleased to participate in the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Iran.

The United States strongly condemns the recent violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens, which has resulted in detentions, injuries and deaths. Since last June millions of Iranian people have sought to raise legitimate concerns about the 2009 electoral process and to exercise their universal rights. The Government of Iran has suppressed their protests, often resorting to violence.

The United States also strongly condemns the growing restrictions on freedom of expression. News organizations have been shut down and Iranian and foreign journalists arrested, detained, or prevented from doing their job. Access to the internet also has been curtailed.

What we are saying here echoes the blog posts, emails, and news stories written by Iranians who are struggling to exercise their very right to free expression that the government is trying so hard to curtail.

We are deeply concerned about the status of detainees in Iran, including foreign nationals and American citizens, and the lack of due process accorded them. In addition to last year’s clearly improper “show” trials, there are credible reports of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment in Iranian prisons, including stoning and the execution of minors.

We also are deeply concerned about systematic government violations of religious freedom. Prominent reformers from the Shi’a community have received harsh prison sentences, many on charges of ‘insulting Islam.” More than 200 Baha’i leaders have been executed since 1979. We are concerned about the welfare and legal rights of seven Baha’i leaders imprisoned for more than a year and now on trial on unsubstantiated charges. Members of these religious communities, as well as Iran’s Sufi Muslims, are increasingly subject to surveillance, harassment, prolonged arbitrary detention, and unsubstantiated legal proceedings.

In light of these and related concerns the United States makes the following recommendations:

• That the Government of Iran respect all of its international human rights treaty obligations.

• That it provide due process of law for those charged with crimes, and discontinue the use of mass “show” trials.

• That the government end its severe restrictions on the rights to free expression, association, and assembly, and end the harassment and persecution of journalists and bloggers.

• That it also uphold its constitutional provisions guaranteeing freedom of worship.

• That the government take immediate action to cease the practice of torture in detention facilities and prisons, and take immediate measures to monitor, fully investigate, and prosecute allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

• That it allow UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit the country and provide him with access to its detention facilities and prisoners.

• Finally, that the Government of Iran allow for a visit by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and by other UN Special Rapporteurs and experts who have requested access to Iran