Holding Iran Accountable for its Human Rights Record

Posted by Joanne Levine
March 15, 2011
People in Berlin Light Candles To Honor Victims of Violence in Iran

Deputy Assistant Secretary Suzanne Nossel spoke today on Capitol Hill at an event sponsored by the National Iranian American Council before Congressional staffers, civil society and the press to make the case for creating a Special Rappateur on Iran at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"The case for a new mandate focused on human rights in Iran is powerful," Nossel said, explaining that the human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated since the 2009 Presidential elections. "The Iranian government has jammed foreign broadcasts and blocked internet sites; 28 journalists and 9 bloggers are currently in prison. The execution rate continues to rise and is now the highest per capita in the world..with credible estimates suggesting that 80 people were executed in the first two months of this year."

This is by no means the entire list of human rights abuses, but as Nossel pointed out the regime continues to deny responsibility. In an effort to hold Iran accountable, the Human Rights Council will vote on whether to call for a Special Rappateur on Iran next week.

Nossel explained why the UN is a critical arena to show Tehran that its treatment of its own people, its low regard for human rights and its pattern of abuses have consequences. "While we can and do convey that message on our own, the UN allows us to make clear that Iran's poor human rights record is of grave concern not just to the U.S. and Europe, but to the entire world. The Iranian activists and dissidents we speak to confirm the obvious: Tehran cares about what happens at the United Nations. But so do we."

A Special Rapporteur is a prominent independent expert empowered by the United Nations and its membership to carry out monitoring and reporting on an individual country situation. The Rapporteur carries the imprimatur of the entire international community, and in this case would deliver information and messages that would be difficult for Tehran to dismiss or counter (though they'll surely try). This individual would report at least annually to both the General Assembly in New York and the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Late last year Ted Piccone at the Brookings Institution published a comprehensive study of the work of UN Special Rapporteurs. He found that such mechanisms "represents one of the most effective tools of the international human rights system" and found that they "have a direct impact on elevating attention to important and sensitive human rights problems by government officials, nongovernmental organizations, the media and politicians."

Special Rappateurs serve as key conduits for victims of human rights abuse and human rights defenders so that their suffering does not occur in silence. By speaking the names of dissidents and prisoners, Special Rapporteurs can help save lives.

Nossel insisted that Tehran knows it is under scrutiny. "They have sent a Deputy Foreign Minister to lobby in Geneva and are approaching individual delegations at a relentless pace," she said. "In many countries Iran can invoke trade relationships and other equities to exert persuasive influence. They also benefit from regional bloc dynamics that can result in large groups of countries voting in unison to defend their own. Finally, they will play on the aversion many capitals have to country-specific resolutions, often motivated by fear that someday the spotlight may be turned on them. So we face a difficult battle with more twists and turns to come as the Council session enters its final weeks."

Comments

Comments

notexactlyhuman
|
United States
March 15, 2011

N.E.H. in the U.S.A. writes:

What about Bradley Manning, Guantanamo, or China, or Saudi Arbia . . .

Transparent criminals.

John
|
Canada
March 15, 2011

John in Canada writes:

To deal with Iran, I would humbly suggest that America try something different.

You’re missing something. Make a plan and work the plan.

As for the UN – too many cooks in the kitchen.

It may help in removing certain groups from your terror watch list (concerning Iran).

I mean let’s face it if you have to watch everybody – then you have problems. It gives the appearance that you don’t know who your foe is and is not.

If you’re not clear on your foe, how do you expect to prevail?

The handlings of the Muslim issues have been at best handled in an amateurish way. But then again maybe that’s what you want?

America has a tremendous amount of resources. I can’t help but think they could be used to produce far greater value.

To be frank you MUST attack the Ideology, guns and bombs won’t do it.

palgye
|
South Korea
March 16, 2011

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Iran, Libya

Iran, Libya, depending on how the issue is resolved, as they age, but some bangsikeurodeon, with the Western world thought I'd try to approach. Than the President, the larger the homeland defense against religious and military interference in the inner,,,

If Iran's president has the power, the nexus between Israel and the, but to think that war is inevitable.

Now, I think Libya is in the Middle East problem. If Gaddafi of Libya a victory, in all Middle Eastern countries, before the Revolution, as Jasmine, he would try to change the situation. If you want to help get the gun. Do not know if there were any promises,,,

Like the situation in Japan, ending World War 2, similar to the one that dropped the atomic bomb, personally, I think.

While providing the freedom to Libya, the Palestinian commitment to a new settlement that he would contribute to Middle East peace.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 16, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@Joanne Levine,

How about we hold Iran to account on it's material support to the taliban and terrorism generally as well?

Whereas the destabilization of nations becomes a human rights issue when IED's, guns, and rockets smuggled in to insurgents and terrorists becomes a violation of that nation's soveregnity and it's people's human rights to live in peace.

In fact, the government of Iran violates its own citizens human rights not just in the usual definition of repression, but in the threat it poses to the Iranian people's ability to live in peace by presenting through it's destabilization of nations, "casus belli" for nations to declare war upon the government of Iran and force its removal by armed intervention by a coalition of the willing.

The President has "strongly suggested" Ghaddafi step aside and leave for ther good of his people, because of his human rights violations which present a case for the ICC of crimes against humanity.

I would think there is equally strong an incentive for him to relay that same message as well to the leadership of Iran.

I would like to know where my government stands on policy in this regard.

EJ

Azadi
|
District Of Columbia, USA
March 16, 2011

Azadi in Washington, DC writes:

Thank you for your efforts to secure a human rights monitor for Iran! I greatly enjoyed watching your speech at the National Iranian American Council conference. (video available @ "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VJr92VA6Jw")

Munir
|
Pakistan
March 17, 2011

Munir in Pakistan writes:

When America talks about human rights violation in iran,libya etc then why it is silent over killings of innocent people in Pakistani tribal areas in drone attacks? certianly this is doube standard by amercians and one day they have to answer about this.......

History never spares

John P.
|
Greece
March 18, 2011

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Munir in Pakistan

I don’t know what history spares, or shares?

But, I don’t understand why U.S.A. (and not Amercians) will have to answer for…

Munir, you will have to answer why you don’t do, what you should have done and do for your people and countries and you blame it on "drone"...

Well, I don’t know what are you talking about. You say: “Pilotless attacks”? without mentioning that probably your politicians are “less” than the pilot you need!

Sure an attack! Unfortunately for you. By you though!

All of which makes a pilotless procedure.

And then, we have a crash and burn.

Munir
|
Pakistan
March 18, 2011

Munir in Pakistan writes:

Dear,

You can understand my comment if you have some ethical encouragement from inside your heart

All the best!

Munir

Morteza A.
|
United States
March 19, 2011

Morteza A. in the U.S.A. writes:

Delay tactic by NIAC and reducing the pressure valve as before and calling for “human rights only” instead of regime change!

For years Iranians had been crying out loud for violation of human rights but NIAC was busy beating the drum of “engagement” with the Islamist regime’s despots. After nearly two years following the brutal crush by the regime against the democracy movement and mass protests in Iran, and thousands of executions, tortures, rapes and imprisonment at the hands of the government, masses are clearly calling for “regime change”, “death to Khomeini” and calling for Iranian government. Yet, as expected, NIAC has reduced the pressure valve again and with a huge lag behind the true aspiration of the Iranian people, is now calling for “human rights”. What a shame!

The sad part is that while NIAC is known among the Iranian diasporas as the most well-known lobbyist of the Iranian regime, yet our U.S. Department of State appears to be fooled into thinking that this NGO is for human rights or represents the Iranians. NIAC does not represent me nor any Iranian friend of mine.

It no longer just a rumor rather there are very strong evidence that the President of NIAC, Trita Parsi, has been meeting with the heads of the Islamic regime. However, one needs to look into the connection of Parsa Community Foundation with Iranian regime. Parsa Community Foundation is the NGO with suspicious political agenda who recently funded NIAC with a significant amount of money to make possible such an event (see "http://www.niacouncil.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=6893&security=1..."). One of the Meadwood Social Venture Fund members of PARSA Community Foundation is Noosheen Hashemi, who, to the best of my knowledge is involved in filming industry in Iran(see "http://www.parsacf.org/Page/15" )!

Iranians overwhelming are calling for regime change. So, please do not reduce or limit this demand to “human rights only” aspiration!

James D.
|
United States
March 22, 2011

James D. in the U.S.A. writes:

It's good to see the international community strongly supporting human rights in Iran. Nossel's speech at the National Iranian American Council's conference made a very good case for why this needs to be done!

Nader M.
|
United States
April 1, 2011

Nader M. in the U.S.A. writes:

How can US Department of State hold fascist regime of the Mullahs of Iran accountable for its Human Rights abuse while for the past 15 years have given the Mullahs green light to imprison, torture and execute anyone associated to PMOI by placing PMOI on FTO list?!

US Department of State is hold accountable by all freedom lovers and human Rights activists of the world for such a big injustice. F

uture historians of US will consider this act as one of the worst injustices that US government committed against the people of Iran next to the CIA engineered coup d'etat against nationalist government of Dr. Mossadegh in 1953. Please remove PMOI from the FTO list and show the world that you have the wisdom of doing the right thing after an injustice taking place for more than 15 years. Thanks.

Nancy N.
|
New York, USA
April 1, 2011

Nancy N. in New York writes:

By all means, create a Special Rappateur for Iran! Additionally, embargo all petroleum products coming out of Iran to pressure the regime. Do not fiurther harm the Iranian people, but please squeeze the regime with all your might! Stop human right abuses! Free Iran!

Ross A.
|
California, USA
April 3, 2011

Ross A. in California writes:

First question that comes to my mind, is why Deputy Assistant Secretary Suzanne Nossel is talking about violation of human rights in Iran in an events that is sponsors by the NIAC (Iranian gov, lobby) . Second question is violation of human rights is nothing new. We passed that stage long time ago, Now we need to talk about change of government in Iran. Government of Iran is killing Iranians people as well as American solders by road side bombs and more, It is time that State department and Iranian people help each other to get rid of this major headache in Iran.

Majid S.
|
New York, USA
April 3, 2011

Majid S. in the U.S.A. writes:

How can US Department of State hold fascist regime of the Mullahs of Iran accountable for its Human Rights abuse while for the past 15 years have given the Mullahs green light to imprison, torture and execute anyone associated to PMOI by pl...acing PMOI on FTO list?! US Department of State is hold accountable by all freedom lovers and human Rights activists of the world for such a big injustice. Future historians of US will consider this act as one of the worst injustices that US government committed against the people of Iran next to the CIA engineered coup d'etat against nationalist government of Dr. Mossadegh in 1953.

Masood A.
|
Virginia, USA
April 3, 2011

Masood A. in Virginia writes:

I couldn't help noticing NIAC and wonder why in the world the Deputy Assistant Secretary Suzanne Nossel should speak to these people when it comes to issues on Iran!??. This makes me wonder if the State Departmnet of the United State of America or a faction in that organization has been purchased by the Iranian MUllahs Oil money so that Americans get some of the money they have paid to buy oil from Iran get returned to U.S ! well this is my take and I hate to say that at this point after a long debate by myself I couldn't come up with a better idea of why in the world NIAC should be invited to talk about Human Rights issues where this Organozation is reponsible (indirectly) for the direct violation of human rights in Iran. Hell must have frozen where NIAC talks about human rights in Iran!. I really doubt all of you guys in the State Department and rightly so.

Regards,

Masood

Parvin
|
District Of Columbia, USA
April 3, 2011

Parvin in Washington writes:

United state governmen has been hold responsible for the Human rights abuse in Iran with showing green lights to the Fashist Rejim of Iran all these years. It's time to stop and take Human rights Issue in Iran serius.with suporting this Rejim and ignoting Human rights issue in Iran and the PMOI ( the only hope for Democratic Iran) is a biggest mistake United state can make, not just for Iran, for the peace around the world.Before it's too late we better take action and take PMOI out of black list and let Iranian people take charge and change the setuation in Iran.Don't make the same mistake again.Iran is the heart of Middle east and Democracy has to start from Iran.So for change do what is best for all around the world and humanity by taking PMOI's name out of black list.Peace be with you

Masood
|
Virginia, USA
April 3, 2011

Masood in Virginia writes:

it is not a coincident that we find the Iranian terrist officials have made trips to U.S. EVEN MORE THAN SYRIA OR OTHER IRANIAN PROXY COUNTRIES!

Carlos A.
April 3, 2011

Carlos A. writes:

This is more obvious/clear/true/justified/late than sun's light, urgent,immediate, and unconditinal support for Iraninan Heroic Resistence and STOPPING the incorrect policy of appeasing terrorist, barbaric, hypocrite, criminal, incapable, atomic mullahs, NOW. Remove POMI from the " good gester to mullahs " list and allow Resistance Force win. Pepole of Iran will send these backward, dictator, illegal muurderers to hell very quickly..... Let them fairly fight....

sina d.
|
Sweden
April 3, 2011

Sina D. in Sweden writes:

It is undeoubtly a good news that human rights violation in Iran takes a more forward position in current administration´s policy.

What i miss is a profound review of list of "experts" that in last 30 years advocated policy of engagement with iranian regime under pretext that human right are cultural or religious issues. I find it very hard to accept that same circel of persons have ears of SD in Iranian issue. It is high time for a profound changes in SD policy making process regarding Iran. It is clear that former approaches have not been nothing but failure.

Thus those experts who advices SD to adopt such failed policies have consumed their credit and far more.

I hope that in light of popular movements in region, SD realize that cry for freedom is a very very deep desire in Iran and it can not be put aside again.

thank you for reading

Asghar A.
|
United States
April 3, 2011

Asghar A. in the U.S.A. writes:

NIAC is not representing I as Iranian and many others like me. State Department Stop it. NIAC is an element of Iranian Government and US STATE DEPARTMENT knows it, so my Iranian friends do not let them fool us.

Iraj A.
|
Canada
April 3, 2011

Iraj A. in Canada writes:

Without desmentaling islamic rejim LOBY in the US we will get nowhere !!!!!!!!!!

Saeed
|
Colorado, USA
April 4, 2011

Saeed in Colorado writes:

Being a guest student from Iran and having lost my family members by Iranian regime, my question is: after all these years and all the executions and stoning Iranian regime has committed, why Deputy Assistant Secretary Suzanne Nossel stands by Iranian regime lobbyists and agents and holds the regime accountable for its Human Rights violations? Please stop appeasing Mullahs. We are paying the PRICE of this APPEASEMENT policy with our BONE, FLESH, AND BLOOD. PLEASE STOP APPEASEMENT RIGHT NOW!

armin
|
United Kingdom
April 5, 2011

Armin in the United Kingdom writes:

"Why Deputy Assistant Secretary Suzanne Nossel stands by Iranian regime lobbyists and agents and holds the regime accountable for its Human Rights violations?"

this quastion by an Iranian student is mine too.

Ms.Farzaneh D.
|
Sweden
April 5, 2011

Farzaneh D. in Sweden writes:

Reconsider the shameful policies of appeasement of the fascist regime of the Mullahs of Iran. These policies will ultimately lead you to a war with Iran the same way that appeasement of Hitler regime b...y government of Great Britain during WWII led to US involvement in the war and leaving ten times higher number of casualties by the time that Hitler was dead! Wake up Ms. Clinton! Take a firm stand President Obama for justice, peace and Human Rights in Iran. Please remember that lives of Iranian people with population of 80 million has the same value, if not more, of the lives of people of Libya with a population of 6 million!!

Syavash
|
United States
April 8, 2011

Syavash in the U.S.A. writes:

I would like to take this opportunity and announce that "the National Iranian American Council " by no means represent me or the majority of Iranian- Americans. They are only lobbying for the murderous islamic regime of Iran.

Koorosh A.
|
Australia
April 17, 2011

Koorosh A. in Australia writes:

As an Iranian; I would like to declare that the NIAC is not a representative of the Iranian people, but an agent of the Islamic Regime in Iran and a tool for its remaining in power. The problem is that more than 85% of Iranian people living inside and outside of Iran do not approve of the totality of the current Government of Iran and want its full change and transformation to a secular and Democratic government as soon as possible.

SO, if the West wants to be in line with the Iranian Nation instead of its current Regime, it would have to change its policies soon. To reach to that stage, I would like to suggest the following proposals:

1- Hardening the sanctions by implementing a tough and conclusive policy in monitoring the countries or related bodies in relation with Iran.

2- Immediate and unconditional stop to the purchase of oil from the current government of Iran.

3- To force the government of Iran to free all the prisoners of conscience and allow all the political parties to recommence their activities.

4- Setting a binding and executive time-table to prepare the ground for a full scale and national referendum in order to elect a new form of government for Iran.

5- To cooperate with Iranian people to bring all the criminals who have acted or participated to kill, torture and repress the people of Iran since the 1979 Revolution.

Thank you.
Koorosh A.

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