Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights (file photo)

Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights

Rights Groups Decry UN Official’s Visit To Iran As Diversion From Abuses

5/6/2022

Several human rights advocacy groups have protested the visit of a UN official to assess the impact of sanctions on Iran, calling it Tehran’s attempt to divert attention from its human rights violations.

Eleven rights groups issued a statement on Friday, on the eve of the visit by Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, slated from May 7 to 18. 

They denounced the Iranian government's instrumentalization of the system of UN human rights monitors in an attempt to deflect attention from its well-documented record of human rights violations, and also criticized the Islamic Republic for not allowing similar trips to UN Special Rapporteurs focusing on human rights in Iran since 1992.

They pointed out that the mandate of this rapporteur is unique as it is meant primarily – if not exclusively – to assess the responsibility of sanction imposing states for rights violations. 

Describing the visit as “a banal ploy to divert blame for Iran's current human rights situation”, they said that by inviting only the expert whose mandate is to look at external actors' liability for rights violations in the country, “Iranian authorities exploit this visit in an inconspicuous attempt to blunt scrutiny of its record of non-cooperation with the UN human rights system”.

The role of this Special Rapporteur was created by a 2014 resolution at the UN Human Rights Council introduced by Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi wrote to High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in April and called for the postponement of the visit until Iran lets in the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights. 

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