(Paris) Human rights must be at the centre of discussions between Hollande and Rohani during their meeting in Paris this week. In an open letter addressed today to the French President, our organisations urge François Hollande not to ignore human rights in favour of closer economic ties between France and Iran.
Human rights violations have increased significantly since the coming to power of the current Iranian president, and they cannot be ignored in the name of trade relations. This meeting is an excellent opportunity to urge Iran to respect human rights.
Our organizations also remind French and other foreign companies that plan to engage in economic activities in Iran that they have a responsibility to exercise increased vigilance to respect human rights and to avoid complicity in committing violations.
In the letter to François Hollande, our organisations outline the distressing violations of several rights in Iran: freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of information, freedom of religious and belief, women’s rights, the right to life and the right to free and fair elections, to name a few.
Our organisations recall that in Iran:
- nearly 1,000 people were executed in 2015, a record since 1989
- the judiciary continues to sentence people to inhuman treatment: amputations, eye gouging, forced virginity tests, floggings, etc.
- nearly 1,000 people are serving lengthy prison terms for purely political reasons or for their activities in defence of human rights
- at least 38 journalists and bloggers are imprisoned as of mid-January 2016
- the most basic rights of women continue to be violated
- ethnic and religious minorities are persecuted and many individuals (including Baha’i, Christian, Dervish, and Sunnis) are imprisoned simply for practising their faith
Three human rights defenders affiliated to FIDH member organisations are currently imprisoned in Iran: Nargess Mohammadi, Abdolfattah Soltani and Mohammad Seifzadeh. Our organisations call on Mr. Hollande to engage his Iranian counterpart to secure their release and that of all imprisoned human rights defenders in the country.
This meeting must also be an opportunity for the French President to call for guarantees of freedom for the parliamentary elections scheduled for February 2016 in Iran, insisting on the importance of free and transparent elections, consistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a State party.