The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution December 18 calling on Iran to end its ongoing human rights violations.
The resolution passed with a vote of 81 to 30 and 70 abstentions. The draft resolution proposed by Canada had been approved by the Third Committee of the General Assembly on November 14.
The resolution has called on Iran to release persons detained solely for taking part in peaceful protests or the exercise of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Iran harshly cracked down on protesters in November. According to Amnesty International at least 304 protesters, including 18 children, were killed by security forces during the protests against a three-fold hike in the price of gasoline.
Despite the Iranian security forces’ many violations of human rights in the recent protests, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi today condemned the UNGA resolution and said “it is based on selective approaches, is partial, confrontational, and meant to serve political objectives”.
In a petition published on December 9, Amnesty International and civil society organizations urged the UN member countries to publicly condemn the grave human rights violations by the Iranian authorities who have not even announced the death toll of the recent protests.
Even Iranian lawmakers have harshly criticized the country’s officials for “shedding the blood of the youth” and calling the protests “enemy conspiracies”.
The resolution also urges Iran to end violations against ethnic, linguistic and other minorities and their defenders, all forms of discrimination and other human rights violations against women, and discrimination on the basis of thought, conscience, religion or belief.
The UNGA resolution has expressed serious concern about persecution, arbitrary arrests, and incitement to hatred against religious minorities, including Christians, Gonabadi Dervishes, Jews, Sufi Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians and members of the Baha’i faith.
A number of Gonabadi Dervishes are currently on hunger strike in prison in protest to the limitations imposed on the leader of their community. Four of the Dervishes on hunger strike had to be transferred to hospital yesterday as their health seriously deteriorated.
The resolution mentions economic restrictions, such as the closure or confiscation of businesses and properties, the cancellation of licenses and the denial of employment, including government or military positions, restrictions on access to education, and other human rights violations against persons belonging to religious minorities.
Referring to dual nationals and foreigners imprisoned in Iran the resolution urged Iran to cease the widespread and systematic use of arbitrary arrests and detention, including targeting dual and foreign nationals and to release those who have been arbitrarily detained.
Some of the dual nationals arrested in Iran have even been forced to make self-incriminating confessions. During the November protests Iran security forces said they had arrested several dual nationals in Karaj.
Iran must abolish public executions and the imposition of the death penalty against minors, to address the poor conditions of prisons, to end the practice of deliberately denying prisoners access to adequate medical treatment, and to put an end to the house arrest of leading opposition figures from the 2009 presidential elections despite serious concerns about their health, the statement said.
Recalling its previous resolutions on the situation of human rights in Iran the current resolution notes that the number of drug-related executions “significantly” dropped in 2018 but expresses “serious concern at alarmingly high frequency of the imposition and carrying-out of the death penalty” including executions undertaken against persons on the basis of “forced confessions”.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on December 6 expressed alarm for Iran’s lack of transparency about casualties of the November protests and said the picture emerging from Iran is “extremely disturbing.”
Currently Javaid Rehman a British-Pakistani legal scholar, is the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran often accuses the Special Rapporteurs appointed by the UN of being biased against Iran.