Item 72 (c) of the preliminary list*
Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives
Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Note by the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the General Assembly the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Javaid Rehman, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 40/18.
79. There are an estimated 15 million Azerbaijani Turks, also referred to as Azeris, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, found mostly in West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, Ardabil and Zanjan Provinces. Azerbaijani Turks are the largest ethnic minority in the country, comprising mostly Shi’a Muslims.
80. Based on information received by the Special Rapporteur, there are currently at least 82 Azerbaijani Turks arbitrarily detained in the Islamic Republic of Iran on national security-related charges with sentences of up to six years, including six Azerbaijani Turks held under interrogation. This figure also includes activists and supporters of the East Azerbaijani football club Tiraxtur who were arrested and detained for making pro-Azeri chants during a match between Tiraxtur and Persepolis of Tehran on 2 May 2019 at Sehend stadium in Tebriz.
81. In a separate case, on 2 July 2018, an ethnic Azeri human rights activist, poet and writer, Abbas Lisani, was arrested without charge. He initially remained in detention for just under two weeks before his release on a 500 million rialbail. Iranian authorities rearrested him on 5 January 2019 and temporarily released him the next day, only to arrest him again on 15 January. Charges formally made against him on 26 February include the reportedly false allegation of promoting the armament of the West Azerbaijani people, threatening national security, forming an illegal group and propaganda against the system.Based on information received, at the time of writing this report, Mr. Lisani remains in detention and is on hunger strike.
82. Other Azerbaijani Turks arbitrarily detained includes a young law student detained by the Iranian authorities since 3 July 2018. He has been arrested on 30 occasions. In three cases, he has been accused of publicity activities against the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran in relation to “separatism in Azerbaijan”.
83. In April 2019, the 10-month prison sentence against an Azeri activist, Sahand Maali, was upheld by the Court of Appeal of East Azerbaijan Province. He was convicted for “propaganda against the regime through the distribution of an invitation to a rally in Babak castle on the promotion of ethnic groups’ rights”.
The report will be presented and discussed in October at the UN General Assembly in New York.