Human Rights expert to monitor situation in Iran

The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to appoint a special rapporteur to monitor the human rights situation in Iran as Tehran dismissed the decision as "totally political".

Last Updated: Mar 26, 2011, 00:36 AM IST

United Nations: The United Nations Human
Rights Council has voted to appoint a special rapporteur to
monitor the human rights situation in Iran as Tehran dismissed
the decision as "totally political".

The 47-member body, based in Geneva, adopted the
resolution on Thursday with 22 votes in favour, seven against
and 14 abstentions.

The expert will report to both the Council and to the
General Assembly.

On Friday, Iran dismissed the decision as "unjust,
unjustifiable, and totally political."

Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Mauritania,
Pakistan, and Russian Federation- voted against the
resolution, which was introduced by the US and Sweden.

After the resolution was passed, US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton said the decision "will also give voice to the
many Iranians who long not only for reform, but for their
government to respect their most basic of human rights and
freedoms."

Speaking at the Council in February, Clinton said that
adopting the resolution would be "seminal moment" for the
Council.

The UK also welcomed the decision.
"Over the past 18 months, the international community
has witnessed an unacceptable deterioration in the human
rights situation in Iran," said Foreign Secretary William
Hague.

"Since the 2009 elections, the Iranian authorities
have systematically sought to silence all dissenting voices,
through detaining and harassing human rights activists,
lawyers, journalists and most recently opposition leaders
Mousavi and Karroubi," he added.

Following reports of 66 people being executed in
January, the UN has expressed alarm at the frequency of the
death penalty being doled out in Iran.

"We have urged Iran, time and again, to halt
executions," Navi Pillay, UN human rights chief, said
recently. "I am very dismayed that instead of heeding our
calls, the Iranian authorities appear to have stepped up the
use of the death penalty."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has continued to
ruffle US feathers since he took power in 2005.

Speaking at the annual debate of the General Assembly,
last year, Ahmadinejad called for the UN to carry out an
investigation that would determine what happened on 9/11.

"It is proposed that the United Nations set up an
independent fact-finding group for the event of September 11
so that in the future expressing views about it is not
forbidden," he said.

PTI