UN reports widespread human rights abuses in Iran

A blindfolded man waits to be hanged in public, as two police officers look on, in Shiraz, Iran, on April 16, 2011 (photo credit: AP/Mehr News Agency/Mohammad Hadi Khosravi)

New document cites rise in number of jailed journalists, censorship of 5 million websites and persecution of minorities


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A special UN rapporteur released a scathing report Wednesday detailing widespread human rights abuses in Iran, but he said recent signals from new President Hassan Rouhani have raised expectations for change.

Ahmed Shaheed’s report condemned a rise in the number of jailed journalists in Iran over the past decade — including 23 since January — and other restrictions against freedom of expression, including the blocking of up to 5 million websites. He expressed alarm about a law being considered that would allow a custodian to marry his adopted child. And he said minority religious groups are subjected to discrimination in employment and education, and are often arbitrarily arrested and tortured.

 But Shaheed welcomed the recent release of more than a dozen political prisoners and “a number of positive signals” from Rouhani, who has made several calls for change since taking office in August, including lifting restrictions academic freedoms, increasing social media access and urging police not to crack down on perceived violations of Islamic dress codes for women.

“These signals I refer to raise the expectation of tangible and sustainable reforms,” Ahmed said in a speech presenting his report.

He called for the release of hundreds more prisoners of conscience and urged Iran to respond to his numerous requests to visit the Islamic Republic.

In a written response, Iran rejected Shaheed’s report as “a biased approach” that relied on unconfirmed reports for some numbers and “does not merit public trust or confidence.” The country defended its press freedom policies, saying they are carried out with regard to “the fundamental principles of Islam and the public rights” enshrined in Iran’s Constitution.

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1 thought on “UN reports widespread human rights abuses in Iran

  1. This has happened because Obama strengthened “the religion of peace” by sending arms and funds to the Muslim Brotherhood.

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