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UN Praises Iran's Human Rights Record, In Report Adopted By Top Rights Body

GENEVA, March 14 — The UN's top human rights body on Thursday adopted a report replete with praise for the Islamic Republic of Iran, capping a mandatory review of Tehran's human rights record that all UN member states undergo every five years. For full quotes, click here.

The report was adopted by the 47-nation Human Rights Council after a debate yesterday dominated by authoritarian regimes commending Iran's policies and practices.

"When the UN applauds gross abusers like Iran act as champions 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," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a human rights NGO based in Geneva

"Sadly, as underscored by the recent election of Venezuela's Maduro regime to the UN Human Rights Council, where Libya, Qatar and Congo already sit, it's the foxes guarding the chickens."

Ahead of the review, UN Watch had refuted key claims in Iran's submission.

While the UN's review process is meant to scrutinize governments and thereby strengthen the basic rights and freedoms of their citizens, according to a UN Watch count, 95 out of 111 countries (85%) who took the floor during the review session in November, which formed the basis of the report debated and adopted on Thursday, praised Iran for its human rights achievements. (See quotes below)

1. False Praise in UN Report Adopted on Thursday

In the adopted report, non-democracies made disingenuous recommendations to falsely imply that Iran invests serious efforts to promote and protect human rights.

Cuba implied that Iran was "strengthening its initiatives on human rights education." North Korea implied that Iran "protects vulnerable groups affected by economic sanctions." Kuwait implied that Iran is "developing human rights and citizenship rights education." For more examples, click here.

2. Absurd Statements in Thursday's UN Debate

Just before the report's adoption yesterday, dictatorships took the floor to again praise Tehran's record.

Venezuela welcomed Iran's "steadfast commitment" to promoting human rights. China commended Iran's efforts to "to protect the rights of vulnerable groups." Syria said Iran is bolstering its healthcare system by "building medical care in rural and urban areas." Russia praised Iran's cooperation with human rights treaty bodies and "openness for dialogue" as part of the review process.

Iran also took the floor to make false and absurd statements. Iranian ambassador to the UNHRC Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh blamed the U.S. for "viciously targeting" Iran's health capacity in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He said Iran was a country "scapegoated for human rights violations" and blamed others for abusively invoking human rights as a "tool to stigmatize and antagonize targeted nations."

Majid Tafreshi, deputy chief of Iran's High Council on Human Rights, said that all citizens—including religious minorities and people from all social and political groups—are "equally protected by the law." He said journalists, reporters and NGOs enjoy freedoms of expression, assembly, association, and access to information.

However, Iran's outright refusal to permit access to UN Special Rapporteur on Iran Javaid Rehman to travel to the country to probe the human rights situation, as noted in his remarks to the Human Rights Council this week, confirms the contrary. For full quotes & videos click click here.

3. Excerpts from UN's Initial Review of Iran in November 2019

The UN report that was adopted on Thursday summarized a review of Iran's human rights record that took place on November 8th, 2019.

During that meeting, Indonesia commended "the progress made by Iran in the development of human rights." Palestine and Oman recognized Iran's "commitment to promoting rights." Belarus and Haiti appreciated Iran's "human rights progress" despite it being "targeted by unilateral coercive measures," meaning sanctions. For more examples, click here.

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