UN Human Rights Council applauds Iran in periodic review

North Korea, Syria, Russia and China praise Tehran for ‘protecting rights of vulnerable groups,’ ‘openness to dialogue’; Amnesty considers Iran a serial human rights abuser

A picture taken on June 18, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland, shows a general view during the opening of the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. (AFP/Alain Grosclaude)
A picture taken on June 18, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland, shows a general view during the opening of the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. (AFP/Alain Grosclaude)

The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday praised Tehran in a periodic review of Iran’s rights record.

The 47-nation council adopted the report after a debate which featured lengthy praise for the Islamic Republic, according to UN Watch, a Geneva-based nonprofit organization.

The reports are meant to strengthen basic rights and freedoms by scrutinizing national governments.

According to Amnesty International, by contrast, Iran is a serial abuser of human rights and is guilty of crimes against humanity.

In the UNHRC report and at the debate, countries including North Korea, Syria, Russia and China applauded Iran’s rights record.

Tehran refused to allow the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Iran, Javaid Rehman, to tour the country to investigate its human rights conditions.

Iran’s ambassador to the council, Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh, said Iran was “scapegoated for human rights violations,” and that the US was “viciously” targeting the Iranian health care system amid its severe coronavirus outbreak.

Deputy chief of Iran’s High Council on Human Rights, Majid Tafreshi, said that all citizens in Iran are “equally protected by the law,” and said that journalists and NGOs have freedom of expression.

Syria said at the debate: “We commend Iran’s active efforts to increase healthcare services by building medical care in rural and urban areas.”

China said it “commends Iran’s efforts to eradicate poverty, enhance social security, protect the rights of vulnerable groups and hopes Iran will continue to drive economic and social development to provide a solid basis for the enjoyment of all human rights.”

Russia praised Iran’s “cooperation with human rights treaty bodies and openness for dialogue.”

In a preliminary debate on the report in November, 95 out of 111 countries that took the floor praised Iran for its human rights, UN Watch reported.

According to Amnesty International’s latest report, Iran’s authorities have “heavily suppressed the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Security forces used lethal force unlawfully to crush protests, killing hundreds, and arbitrarily detaining thousands of protesters. The authorities arbitrarily detained over 200 human rights defenders and imposed sentences of imprisonment and flogging against many of them.

“Women continued to face discrimination and the authorities intensified their crackdown against women’s rights defenders campaigning against forced veiling laws. Ethnic and religious minorities faced entrenched discrimination,” it added.

“Torture and other ill-treatment, including through the denial of medical care, remained widespread and systematic; they were committed with impunity. Cruel, inhuman and degrading judicial punishments were carried out.

“Scores of people were executed, sometimes in public; several were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime. There were systematic violations of fair trial rights. The authorities committed the ongoing crime against humanity of enforced disappearance by systematically concealing the fate and whereabouts of several thousand political dissidents extrajudicially executed in secret in the 1980s.”

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