22 March 2013 – The United Nations Human Rights Council renewed today the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Mr Ahmed Shaheed, with an unprecedented majority.
Twenty-six countries voted for the renewal of the mandate, 17 countries abstained and only 2 countries voted against it. The corresponding number of votes last year were: 22 for, 20 abstentions and 5 against. The Islamic Republic of Iran is facing wider isolation even in comparison with last year. The growing consensus is illustrated by the behaviour of Libya, who turned its abstention last year to a support for the resolution this year. However, FIDH and LDDHI regret the continuous abstention of a too large number of African and Asian countries, putting forward a position of principle against country-specific resolutions to dissociate themselves from the Council's important actions on country situations where serious violations of human rights are committed, like in Iran. In this respect, the positions of Botswana, and Gabon in the African Group as well as Japan, Maldives and South Korea in the Asian Group, who all voted in favour of the text, stand out at the Council.
Karim Lahidji, vice president of FIDH and president of LDDHI said today: "The policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran are manifested in terror and repression, denial of rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association, extensive use of capital punishment, increasing number of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, suppression of religious and ethnic minorities, human rights defenders, women's rights and labour rights activists. Today, the clear message of the international community is: the ongoing and widening policy of gross violation of human rights must stop."
The resolution expresses serious concerns at the developments noted in the Special Rapporteur’s report as well as the lack of access permitted to the Special Rapporteur to travel to Iran.
Welcoming the adoption of the resolution and renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, the International Federation for Human Rights and the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran pointed out that the resolute vote of the Human Rights Council shows that the international community is not prepared to tolerate the increasing violation of human rights and suppression of the people in Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran must act upon the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur and allow him to fulfill his mandate by visiting Iran and conducting independent investigation.
Votes in favour: Argentina, Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Estonia, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Libya, Maldives, Montenegro, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland, United States of America
Votes against: Pakistan, Venezuela
Abstentions: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritania, Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates