Human Rights Council Fortieth session
25 February–22 March 2019 Agenda item 2 Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the
High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 73/181, in which the Secretary-General was requested to submit an interim report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Human Rights Council at its fortieth session. The report reflects the patterns and trends in that regard, and provides information on the progress made in the implementation of resolution 73/181 and recommendations to improve its implementation
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 73/181, in which the Secretary-General was requested to submit an interim report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Human Rights Council at its fortieth session. The report provides information on progress made in the implementation of the resolution. It draws on observations made by the United Nations human rights treaty bodies, the special procedures of the Human Rights Council and various United Nations entities. It also reflects information from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, State media and non-governmental organizations and from individual interviews with known victims and alleged victims and their families and with lawyers. The Secretary-General acknowledges the detailed submission provided by the Government in response to the draft of the present report.
2. The Secretary-General notes that the Government has increasingly engaged with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and with United Nations human rights mechanisms. Representatives of OHCHR visited Tehran in May 2018 and met with a range of interlocutors to discuss the human rights situation in the country. The Government has extended an invitation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and to three special procedure mandate holders.
Situation of members of ethnic and religious minorities
14. Discrimination on the basis of religion is codified in law. Unrecognized religious minorities do not have the right to equal qisas or diya29 and the testimony of a non-Muslim against a Muslim is not admissible in court.30 Members of minorities reportedly constitute the majority of political prisoners and a disproportionate percentage of persons executed on political and national security-related charges.31
15. In September 2018, three Kurdish prisoners, Zanyar and Loghman Moradi and Ramin Hossein Panahi, were executed despite serious concerns that they had not received fair trials and had reportedly been tortured in detention.32 Concerns have also been raised about the situation of Hedayat Abdollapour, whose death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in October 2018 amidst reports that he had been subjected to torture in detention and had been denied access to his legal counsel of choice. In its comments, the Government stated that these individuals had been sentenced to death in relation to acts against national security.
16. Concerns have also been raised about the fate and whereabouts of eight Gonabadi dervishes who allegedly held a sit-in protest in August 2018 at Great Tehran Penitentiary and were subsequently detained.33
17. In early July 2018, 80 persons from the Azerbaijani Turkish community were reportedly detained or summoned by security forces in the context of an annual celebration in East Azerbaijan Province. Most have been released, amidst reports that they were subjected to ill-treatment. In August, 40 persons from the community were arrested in connection with another gathering in the city of Meshgin Shahr in Ardabil Province, amidst reports of the use of excessive force by security forces. They were subsequently released.
18. Gunmen attacked a military parade in Ahvaz on 22 September 2018. At least 24 persons were reportedly killed, including children, and more than 60 persons were injured.36 The Secretary-General condemned the attack and expressed his condolences.37 According to information received by OHCHR, at least 180 individuals from Ahwazi Arab minority groups have been detained incommunicado since 24 September in connection with the attack.38 The Ministry of Intelligence announced that only 22 people had been arrested.39 The authorities later denied allegations concerning their execution.40 The Secretary-General calls for transparency on the number of persons arrested, their fate and whereabouts, and the charges they may be facing.