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Iran Expresses Concern Over Human Rights Situation in US

TEHRAN - Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has said Iran is seriously concerned about violations of human rights in Western countries, particularly in the United States.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has said Iran is seriously concerned about violations of human rights in Western countries, particularly in the United States. "We are seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Western countries and will bring up our points during the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) conference," Mehmanparast told the Mehr News Agency during a visit to the International Press Festival in Tehran on Sunday.

Mehmanparast also called on independent states that are concerned about the human rights situation in the West to take an active part in the upcoming UPR conference and to urge the U.S. to show more respect for human rights.

The ninth session of the UPR is scheduled to be held in November in Geneva.

The UPR is a new and unique human rights mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council aimed at improving the human rights situation of each of the 192 UN member states.

Police brutality, the mistreatment of prisoners, inmates' problems in gaining access to lawyers, illegal detentions, discrimination toward minorities, and insults directed toward the sanctities of religions under the pretext of "freedom of speech" are examples of human rights violations in the United States, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman stated.

According to a report by Human Rights Watch, there were 45 executions in the United States in 2009, up from 37 in all of 2008.

In May 2009, Human Rights Watch revised upward to 2,574 its estimate of the number of U.S. prisoners serving sentences of life without the possibility of parole for crimes committed when they were under age 18. There are no persons known to be serving life without parole sentences for crimes committed as children anywhere else in the world.

Human Rights Watch also reported that there are 38 million non-citizens living in the United States, of whom approximately 12 million are undocumented. In 2009, the U.S. government took some preliminary positive steps but largely failed to resolve the myriad human rights problems faced by this population.

In the United States, the crime of rape has one of the lowest arrest, prosecution, and conviction rates among serious violent crimes.

Hundreds of thousands of children work on U.S. farms yet are exempt from the legal protections granted to all other working children in the United States.

The United States is one of only a handful of countries that have no guarantee of paid family leave, and pregnancy discrimination claims have risen sharply in recent years.

A March 2009 report by the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics found that the incarcerated population had reached an all-time high of nearly 2.4 million. The United States continues to have both the largest incarcerated population and the highest incarceration rate in the world.

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