The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Javaid Rehman, submits his first report to the General Assembly pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 37/30, following his appointment in July 2018. This initial report is based on consultations held with interlocutors in Geneva in August 2018 and sets out some consistently documented issues of concern as well as some steps envisaged towards the fulfilment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.

Situation of religious and ethnic minorities

  1. The Special Rapporteur is concerned by the substantial violations of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities described in the previous reports of his predecessor and the Secretary-General,[1]in particular the serious violations of rights consistently documented of members of the Bahai’i community within Iran.[2]In this regard, allegations of discriminatory policies and practices have been received with respect to the denial of the right to work and to earn a decent living; restriction of access to higher education; the closure of shops; and discrimination in policy owing to the fact that Baha’is do not constitute one of the three constitutionally recognised religious minorities in the country. In comments provided on this present report, the Government denied such allegations, stating that “principle 23 of the Constitution stipulates that it is forbidden to enquire about beliefs and no one can be prosecuted merely because of holding a certain belief”. Further allegations of discrimination have been described in previous reports of other communities including, inter alia, members of the Christian; Baloch; Kurdish; Azerbaijani Turkish; Yarsan communities; and members of the Gonabadi Sufi order.[3]
  2. Further to communications previously transmitted to the Government by relevant special procedures mandate holders, the Special Rapporteur issued a statement on 7 September, with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions calling for the Government to halt the imminent executions of three Kurdish prisoners, Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi amid serious concerns that they did not receive a fair trial and were tortured in detention.[1]The Special Rapporteur deeply deplores reports that they were all executed on 8 September despite such concerns. In comments provided on this present report, the Government stated that the aforementioned individuals had received a fair trial and that the punishments were conferred in relation to terrorist offences. As highlighted in the methodology section of this present report, the Special Rapporteur intends to seek further information and monitor and report on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in the country in the course of his mandate.
  1. More broadly, the Special Rapporteur notes that reports of his predecessor have described how some ethnic minority groups in Iran constitute a disproportionately large percentage of persons executed or imprisoned.[1]In its comments on the most recent report of his predecessor, the Government dismissed such statistics as ‘completely misleading, distorted and inaccurate’.[2]With a view to engaging in a dialogue on this issue with the Government, the Special Rapporteur proposes that the Government conduct an impartial and objective investigation confirming number of persons executed from minority communities. Without prejudice to the outcome of such an investigation, if the numbers of executions from minorities communities are disproportionate, then the Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government conduct further investigations and inquires as to the reasons for such disproportionate numbers and undertake appropriate remedial actions. In comments provided on this present report, the Government stated that according to Article 19 of the Constitution the people of Iran, of any tribe or affiliation, enjoy equal rights, including during all stages of criminal proceedings.

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