Iran’s ‘increasing restrictions’ on religious freedom a ‘serious concern’ – UN

This article was originally published by Article 18 on 19 November. The original can be found here.

Article 18, 19 November 2020 – The UN’s General Assembly has passed a resolution expressing “serious concerns” about the situation of human rights in Iran, including “severe limitations” and “increasing restrictions” on religious freedom.

The resolution, passed yesterday by 79 votes to 32, with 64 abstentions, calls on Iran to “eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of discrimination on the basis of thought, conscience, religion or belief”, including denial of employment and access to education.

The Iranian government should “cease monitoring individuals on account of their religious identity”, the resolution says, “release all religious practitioners imprisoned for their membership in or activities on behalf of a recognized or unrecognized minority religious group”, and “ensure everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of their choice”, in accordance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Iran is a signatory.

It lists a number of other rights violations against both recognised and unrecognised minorities, including “harassment, intimidation, persecution, arbitrary arrests and detention, and incitement to hatred that leads to violence”.

Other rights concerns listed in the resolution include:

* Use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

* “Unduly harsh” sentences, including long-term internal exile.

* Persecution of political opponents and rights defenders.

* Poor prison conditions, including lack of access to adequate medical care.

* Restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of association, and peaceful assembly.

* Death penalty use at “alarmingly high frequency”.

* Targeting of foreign and dual nationals.

* Restrictions on Internet access.

* Discrimination against women and ethnic minorities.

The resolution also calls on Iran to allow access to the country to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman.