IRAN: Long way to go to comply with obligations says Human Rights Committee

Summary: The Human Rights Committee sent a clear message to the delegation of Iran during the State's recent review, that more must be done to comply with the country's human rights obligations.

The Human Rights Committee sent a clear message to the Iranian delegation during the review of the third periodic report on 17 and 18 October 2011. The lack of transparency in the written information sent by  the State, as well as the deviating responses during the review, prevented this mechanism to yield its potential as a space for constructive dialogue.
The Committee had a fruitful exchange with the civil society on issues of concern in Iran hours before the Review. Many of the issues discussed, such as the level of impunity existent regarding extra-judicial killings or the persecutions of people on the basis of their faith or sexual orientation, were later raised by the Committee with the government delegation.

Capital Punishment / Corporal Punishment

The Committee was concerned by the fact that capital punishment is still applicable in a large number of offenses, many of them of a moral nature. "The delegation is highly embarrassed to respond on questions related to capital punishment" said Christine Chanet, a Committee member.

"Draft legislation is not enough"

Regarding the number of Bills aimed at replacing capital punishment for minors or reducing the use of corporal punishment, the Committee stressed the fact that draft legislation is not enough to meet the rights of the Covenant. "The low level of investigations opened regarding recent extra-judicial killings and disappearances remains a major concern for the Committee" indicated Iulia Motoc, a member of the Committee.

The persecution cases on the basis of religious faith, ethnic origin and political views, under vaguely formulated charges, were also discussed at length. The Committee specifically indicated that the Iranian government should, as a minimum, consider Bahai's as a belief and afford them the same rights as other religions under article 18 of the Covenant.

The Human Rights Committee will make its recommendations on Iran public at the end of the session. A broadcast of the entire Review on Iran can be found at the website of the Centre for Civil and Political Rights.

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