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UN reviews Iran's human rights record

The Universal Periodic Review Working Group (UPR) which works on reviewing the human rights record of UN member states was preparing to review Iran’s human rights record this morning.

According to the UPR mechanisms, the experts are basing their assessment process on data submitted by three parties, namely the state that is under review, information mentioned in the UN human rights experts’ reports, and working groups known as Special Procedures Groups as well as the bodies following up on human rights treaties and other UN bodies. Information is also taken from reports by national, regional, and non-governmental human rights institutions, which, in Iran’s case, consisted of 46 Iranian and international human rights organisations.

The Iranian delegation will have to provide answers and explanations for the “surge in executions”, as described by experts, as well as the torture cases and claims regarding the lack of women’s access to their civil rights. Examples of this include the lack of access to equal educational opportunities for boys and girls.

The Iranian delegation will also have to brief the United Nations on what Tehran is doing to ensure a fair judicial system, the freedom of religion, and the freedom of expression, including the use of social media without any restrictions. It will also have to state how it is guaranteeing the safety of journalists and the respect of the rights of the various religious and ethnic minorities.

The difficulty the Iranian delegation is expected to face will be in responding to the UN reports that demand Iran explain its positions on the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, as well as its implementation of international human rights obligations.

Iran is expected to reject any recommendations that conflict with Islamic law, as other Islamic countries have done. Islamic countries all agree not to uphold any recommendations that are not compatible with the teachings of Islam or prevalent societal values.

The UPR human rights review is a mechanism involving the periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN member states. This was put into effect in 2008 in a cycle that lasted four years during which all the UN member states were reviewed. So far 98 states have been reviewed as part of the second cycle which began in 2012 and will continue until 2016.

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