Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
as delivered by Erin M. Barclay
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
37th Session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, March 12, 2018
The United States joins our colleagues in expressing deep sadness at the death of Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir. She tirelessly fought on behalf of the Iranian people and many others. The work of the rapporteurship must continue; we urge the Human Rights Council to renew the mandate.
Iran’s human rights situation remains dire. We condemn the Iranian government’s crackdown on protests beginning on December 28. Iranian authorities forcefully repressed peaceful protestors, arrested thousands, with reports of the deaths of over 20 protestors, while the government curbed access to information inside the country. To date, no officials have been held accountable, despite evidence suggesting some protesters died in prison under suspicious circumstances. In February, dozens of women were unjustly arrested for peacefully protesting Iran’s compulsory hijab.
Iranian authorities’ human rights violations and abuses include torture, amputation, censorship of print and electronic media, and harassment of civil society. The United States is concerned about the arbitrary detention of hundreds of human rights defenders including women’s and environmental rights activists, trade unionists, journalists, political figures, and online media workers. The Iranian government’s abuses also extend to dual citizens and foreign nationals. Iran continues to execute juvenile offenders.
The government continues to create a hostile atmosphere for religious minority groups. Baha’is face especially severe treatment as the government does not recognize the Baha’i faith. There have been recent reports of violent clashes between authorities and Sufi dervishes, resulting in hundreds of arrests of Sufis along with reported deaths.
The United States calls upon Iran to take immediate steps to address the severe restrictions on Iranians seeking to exercise their basic human rights, and to fully cooperate with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms.