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US Urges HRC to “Stand Firm” in Demanding that Iran Address Continuing Pattern of Human Rights Abuses
March 28, 2014

Item 4:  Resolution Entitled “Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” A/HRC/25/L.9

Statement of Introduction by the Delegation of the United States of America

Delivered by Paula Schriefer
Human Rights Council 25th Session
Geneva, March 27, 2014

Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States welcomes the resolution on the “Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” and urges all members to support it.

As the Special Rapporteur’s March 13 report indicates, while there has been some welcome change in rhetoric from the Iranian government, there has been no significant improvement in Iran’s overall human rights situation.  As a result, the Council should continue its strong support for this Resolution to demonstrate that in addressing international human rights concerns, words are no substitute for actions.

Iran’s already high execution rate has increased since the start of 2014, with courts often issuing death sentences after trials that raise serious due process concerns including reported forced confessions under torture.  Many individuals have been executed in public.  Often contrary to its own laws and constitution, Iran continues to imprison human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, and reformist political figures.  While the release of several dozen political prisoners in late 2013 was encouraging, hundreds more prisoners of conscience continue to languish in Iran’s prisons.  Likewise, the plight for members of Iran’s minority communities remains poor.  Iran’s recent execution of Kurdish and Arab cultural activists—and its continued harassment of Baha’is and detention of Christian pastors like Saeed Abedini on charges related to their religious beliefs—indicate that members of Iran’s minority populations face ongoing persecution.  In addition, Iran continues to severely restrict freedom of expression by detaining journalists, editors, and bloggers on vague, politically-motivated charges.  Iran’s recent closure of several reformist publications and the government’s ongoing “downlink” satellite jamming activities severely limit access to information.

This Council must stand firm in its insistence that the Iranian government address this continuing pattern of human rights abuses.  Supporting this year’s resolution, which calls for the renewal of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, will send a strong signal of unity in this regard.  We hope it will also encourage the Iranian government to cooperate with the international community to uphold the rights and freedoms of the Iranian people.