March 16, 2020

Watchdog Says United Nations Human Rights Council’s Report on Iran Is ‘Insult’ to Islamic Republic’s Many Victims

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Photo: UN.

A United Nations Human Rights Council report on the human rights situation in Iran was sharply criticized over the weekend by a leading watchdog agency.

Hillel Neuer, the head of NGO UN Watch, said in a statement, “When the UN helps gross abusers like Iran act as champions and global judges of human rights, it’s an insult to their political prisoners and many other victims — and a defeat for the global cause of human rights.”

Most of the report, to which all UN members must submit once every five years, consists of the Iranian delegation’s claims regarding the country’s human rights record, which is widely viewed by the rest of the world as poor.

Iran is a theocracy in which Islam is the source of all political and social law, with non-Muslims as second-class citizens. Women are forced to conform to sexist and even misogynist regulations derived from the Islamic tradition, and no political or other groups that advocate secular government are permitted.

Nonetheless, the UNHRC report is mainly composed of the Iranian claim that the ruling regime is a paragon of human rights.

“For the Islamic Republic of Iran, human rights were part and parcel of its rationality with deep roots in Islam,” it said.

“The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran stated that, with regard to women’s rights, article 101 of the Sixth National Development Plan spotlighted gender justice in order to support the fundamental rights of women in many areas, such as the right to education, employment, social security, and health care,” the report said.

On the issue of state-sponsored violence, the reports say the delegation asserted, “The Islamic Republic of Iran condemned terrorism, which it believed led to gross violations of human rights and threatened the political, social, and economic development of nations. It considered itself one of the major victims of terrorism and at the same time one of its strongest opponents.”

Iran is, in fact, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, including organizations like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and numerous Iraqi groups. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite branch of Iran’s military, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.

The Iranian delegation also claimed that the country “recognized the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and demonstration.”

Journalists are regularly jailed in Iran, and recent widespread protests against the regime have been met with extreme violence.

Many of the countries sitting on the council are notorious violators of human rights themselves and gave heavy praise to Iran’s record, including Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, China, Syria, and Russia.

UN Watch’s Neuer said, “Sadly, as underscored by the recent election of Venezuela’s Maduro regime to the UN Human Rights Council, where China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia already sit, it’s the foxes guarding the chickens.”