Human Rights

U.N.’s Iran Human Rights Monitor: Rouhani’s Promises “Yet to Translate” Into Necessary Reforms

The U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran yesterday officially presented his latest report to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Stating that he had met with representatives from the Iranian Judiciary and other government organizations in Geneva, Shaheed said, “the report before the Council demonstrates that the rhetoric and modest steps taken to date are yet to translate into the kinds of deep reforms needed to respond to the human rights concerns raised by the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, the UN Secretary-General, Treaty Bodies, all Special Procedures, human rights defenders and international organizations.”

Ahmed Shaheed had already noted last fall that there had been no fundamental improvement in Iran’s human rights situation under Rouhani, and a few months later he described Tehran’s deployment of capital punishment as “contraven[ing] universally accepted human rights principles and norms.” His report echoes statements made last week by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which Ban assessed that “the new [Iranian] administration has not made any significant improvement in the promotion and protection of freedom of expression and opinion, despite pledges made by the president during his campaign and after his swearing.”

It is also in line with U.S. assessments, including one issued in February by Uzra Zeya – the State Department’s acting assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor – in which Zeya emphasized the U.S. has “seen little meaningful improvement in human rights in Iran under the new government, including torture, political imprisonment, harassment of religious and ethnic minorities.”

Recent U.N. assessments regarding human rights under Rouhani have received less media attention than might be expected. The NYT almost wholly declined to cover Ban’s recent statements, for instance, while the Washington Post reported them as evidence that Rouhani was actually trying really hard to improve human rights.

[Photo: Control Arms / Flickr]