UN Rapporteur: Freedom of Expression in Iran is More Restricted

  • Concerns have been raised about the impact of sanctions on "food security, food availability, and the availability of medicines and medical equipment" in Iran.
  • Rahman dedicated a section to the activities of Iranian women opposed to the forced veil.
  • Since the beginning of the Islamic Republic, more than 200 Baha'is have been executed for their religious beliefs.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran says freedom of expression in Iran has been curtailed. In his second report in six months, he expressed concern about the impact of sanctions on Iran’s “food and drug safety.” Javid Rahman submitted his second report to the UN General Assembly on Friday and it emphasized that in the past year freedom of expression in Iran has been curtailed and human rights abuses have continued.

Sepideh Gholian (born 1995), is an Iranian civil rights activist, journalist and prisoner of conscience from the city of Ahvaz.

Rahman said that the information was provided by various sources including non-governmental organizations. He has also contacted representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran. his report highlights the devastating impact of natural disasters over the past six months from flooding that occurred in a significant part of Iran’s territory. Concerns have been raised about the impact of sanctions on “food security, food availability, and the availability of medicines and medical equipment” in Iran. The UN report emphasizes that sanctions had the greatest impact on the lives of ordinary people in Iran.

Rahman then examined the human rights situation in Iran over the past six months and emphasized that the right to freedom of expression, the right to liberty and the right to a fair trial in Iran have been restricted. He also reported harassment of human rights activists, minorities, especially Baha’i citizens of Iran, lawyers, journalists, labor activists, and women protesters who have been forced to wear the hijab. The UN report cited a decline in executions in Iran– five deaths per year– but says Iran still tops the list of countries with the highest number of executions.

Increasing pressure on human rights activists

Another part of the report referred to the intimidation of human rights lawyers, including Nasrin Sotoudeh, who defended women protesters about a forced veil in Iran. She was sentenced to five lashes and a long prison sentence. Eight prominent human rights lawyers were subsequently arrested for defending political prisoners and human rights activists, including Amir Salar Davoodi, who was sentenced to imprisonment and four lashes.

The report further points to increased pressure on labor activists, including teachers, workers and truck drivers. In particular the report focuses on prisoners such as Sepideh Gholian, journalist and editor-in-chief of the Gham telegram channel, Amir Hossein Mohammadi Fard, Sanaz Alhayari, Ali Amirgholi, Asal Mohammadi, Ismail Bakhshi and Ali Nejati.

Persecution of Bahá’ís occurs in various countries, especially in Iran, where the Bahá’í Faith originated, and one of the largest Bahá’í populations in the world is located. The origins of the persecution stem from a variety of Bahá’í teachings which are inconsistent with traditional Islamic beliefs, including the finality of Muhammad’s prophethood, and the placement of Bahá’ís outside the Islamic faith. Thus, Bahá’ís are seen as apostates from Islam, and, according to some Islamists, must choose between repentance and death.

Repression of Women

Rahman dedicated a section to the activities of Iranian women opposed to the forced veil and referred to the cases of Yasmin Ariani, Monireh Arabshahi, and Mojgan Keshavarz. The three were sentenced to a total of six years and six months in prison. The detention and sentencing of these women in prison is a clear example of the oppression of women who peacefully pursue their rights.

Harassment of religious minorities

The UN report continues to address the situation of ethnic and religious minorities, especially the Baha’is. The UN rapporteur has emphasized that Baha’is are the largest non-Muslim minority that the Islamic Republic does not recognize. Since the beginning of the Islamic Republic, more than 200 Baha’is have been executed for their religious beliefs.

At the same time, the UN Special Rapporteur states that the execution of Baha’is has been suspended because of their religious beliefs, but there is a danger that they will be arrested and imprisoned.

Lastly, the UN report repeated a call on the authorities of the Islamic Republic to end the threat to human rights defenders, release dual nationals and end the persecution of official and informal religious minorities. Rahman’s first report was released on February 6.

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George Mtimba

George clarifies how the news is changing the world, how world news trends affect you. Also, George is a professional journalist, a freelance news reporter and writer who is passionate with current world news.


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