An official website of the United States government

U.S. Statement on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran
March 13, 2017

U.S. Statement on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran

Human Rights Council 34: Interactive Dialogue with Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran

Statement of the United States of America
As Delivered by William J. Mozdzierz
Head of Delegation
Director for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
Bureau of International Organization Affairs

Geneva, Switzerland
March 13, 2017

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States congratulates Ms. Jahangir on her appointment as Special Rapporteur and welcomes her first report to the Council.  We call on Iran to cooperate fully with the new special rapporteur and invite her for a country visit.  As Ms. Jahangir’s work gets underway, the bleak human rights situation in Iran requires the renewal of the mandate this session.  Persistent reports of widespread torture, political imprisonment, lack of fair trial guarantees, harassment of ethnic and religious minorities, and severe restrictions on freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association continue to be documented daily.

We appreciate Ms. Jahangir’s initial attention to Iran’s continued execution of individuals for crimes allegedly committed as juveniles, and her efforts to raise alarm over the critical health situation of prisoners on hunger strike who are contesting the legality of their detention.  Journalists, artists, ethnic minority advocates, student activists, human rights defenders, and defenders of women’s and children’s rights are among the individuals who are detained arbitrarily, in miserable conditions, and often without access to a lawyer, proper medical treatment, or family visitation – which is contrary to Iran’s own laws.

We also highlight the continued reporting by the Special Rapporteur of severe restrictions on members of religious minority groups in Iran.  Members of the Sunni and Sufi Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Baha’i, Yarsan, and Zoroastrian religious minority communities face harassment by government officials and are disproportionately sentenced to harsher penalties by courts compared to members of the majority.  Members of the Baha’i community appear to be singled out for especially harsh treatment.

We remain concerned that the Iranian government takes few steps to investigate, prosecute, punish, or otherwise hold accountable officials, in the security services or elsewhere in government, who allegedly commit human rights violations and abuses.  Impunity remains pervasive throughout all levels of the government and security forces.

We extend our gratitude to the Special Rapporteur for taking on this important mandate.  Ms. Jahangir, what can the international community do to help protect the rights of political prisoners and members of religious minorities in Iran, in light of the continued violations they suffer at the hands of government actions?

Thank you.