EU must use upcoming dialogue to raise ongoing abuses

Press release
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Paris, 17 November 2017: The EU must use the upcoming EU-Iran human rights dialogue to demand the government address serious ongoing human rights abuses in the country, FIDH and its member organization League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI) said today. The dialogue is scheduled to take place on 20 November 2017 in Tehran.

In a briefing paper released ahead of the dialogue, FIDH and LDDHI highlight four key areas of concern: the death penalty; arbitrary detention and torture; discrimination against women and minority groups; and labor rights.

“Given Iran’s longstanding refusal to cooperate with international human rights bodies, the EU is in a unique position to discuss human rights directly with the Iranian authorities. The EU must use this opportunity to channel its concern over human rights violations and press the Iranian government for progress on key issues.”

Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH President

Iran is the world’s second largest executioner, having executed over 435 persons since the beginning of 2017. Two-thirds of the executions involved drug-related offenses, a category that does not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” as stipulated in Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a state party. Iran has also continued to sentence to death and execute juvenile offenders. Since January 2017, Iran has executed at least four individuals for crimes they allegedly committed when they were under 18 years of age. At least 86 juvenile offenders remain on death row.

Political dissidents have been routinely subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, kept behind bars in appalling conditions, and denied their right to access to a lawyer. Many political prisoners have lost their lives in Iranian prisons due to torture and other forms of inhumane treatment, including the deliberate deprivation of medical treatment.

Women, religious minorities, and ethnic communities have continued to be discriminated against. Iranian law ostracizes women and minorities in blatant disregard of international law. These groups are often persecuted and are denied access to work and education.

Labor rights remain highly restricted and authorities have harshly repressed those who have sought to promote and protect them. Legislation bans independent trade unions and ensures strong government control over state-sanctioned unions. Labor rights activists have been routinely harassed and imprisoned on trumped up charges, such as ‘acting against national security’ and ‘spreading propaganda against the system’. Strikes are brutally suppressed.

“In order for the human rights dialogue with Iran to be meaningful, the EU must set some measurable benchmarks for progress and demand Tehran shows what it has done to address the myriad of human rights violations the country is facing. The EU must demand the release of all Human Rights Defenders and specifically Narges Mohammadi and Abdolfattah Soltani.”

Karim Lahidji, LDDHI President and FIDH Honorary President

FIDH and LDDHI call on the EU to use the upcoming dialogue to ask the Iranian government to detail what concrete measures it has taken to make progress towards the abolition of the death penalty, the release of political prisoners, and the respect of key civil and political rights.

Press contacts
FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) - Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)
FIDH: Ms. Audrey Couprie (French, English) - Tel: +33648059157 (Paris)
LDDHI spokesperson (Persian, French) - Tel: +33140941450 (Paris)
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