24 October 2012At the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur
Thank you Mr Chair.
The United Kingdom would like to thank the Special Rapporteur, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, for his report and presentation to the Committee. We support the points made by the European Union.
The United Kingdom strongly supports your mandate and your role as Special Rapporteur. We remain deeply concerned by the current human rights situation in Iran.
Dr Shaheed, it is of great concern that Iran has failed to show serious engagement with the international community on its human rights record. We note that you have not been able to visit the country as part of your mandate. Neither has Iran reported any progress on the 123 recommendations it accepted at its Universal Periodic Review. What do you think is the most effective way for the international community to encourage Iran’s genuine engagement?
Of further concern is the desperately low level of observance of international human rights standards and Iran’s own constitutional protections. This is particularly notable in Iran’s use of the death penalty – where we join you in deploring the execution this week of ten people on drug-related charges – and in the lack of due process followed in criminal trials, the bringing of ambiguous and politically motivated criminal charges and the Government’s repression of religious and ethnic minorities, such as Baha’is, Christians and Ahwazi Arabs. Only today, British Minister Alistair Burt spoke about the persecution of Baha’is in Iran in a debate in our parliament. We see no basis whatsoever for suggestions from Iran that elements of your report regarding the death penalty are anti-Islamic – the international community has legitimate concerns about its application in Iran in breach of international standards.
Dr Shaheed, we welcome the inclusion in your report of emerging areas of concern, such as the draft Islamic Penal Code and recent further restrictions on access to information, particularly via the internet. Which other areas do you intend to focus on for your next report? We would also be interested to know what plans you have for further exploring the issue of the rule of law, in particular the imprisonment and mistreatment of lawyers defending the most repressed groups in Iran, such as human rights defenders and minorities.
Thank you very much.