For Immediate Release

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Amnesty International says Iran’s Report to UN Paints Distorted Picture on Human Rights

WASHINGTON - The Iranian government’s
view of the state of human rights in the country is severely distorted,
Amnesty International said today in an analysis paper prepared ahead of
a review of Iran by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The Amnesty International paper was prepared
in response to Iran’s own submission to the United Nations in the framework
of the Universal Periodic Review. The U.N. Human Rights Council’s Working
Group will evaluate Iran’s human rights record on February 15.  

During the review, U.N. member states have
the opportunity to raise questions about Iran’s human rights record and
make recommendations to the Iranian government, which may then say which,
if any, it will accept.

“The Iranian authorities seem either to
have lost touch with reality or are unwilling to acknowledge it,” said
Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa
at Amnesty International. “The government report reads as if there is
no human rights crisis, just politically motivated criticism.”

“U.N. member states must look at what is
actually happening in Iran: mass arrests and detentions, beatings of peaceful
demonstrators, torture and deaths in custody, ‘show trials’ and politically
motivated executions. Complacency or misplaced solidarity with Iran should
not stand in the way of demands for Iran to fulfill its human rights obligations.”

Amnesty International’s analysis includes
examples that illustrate Iran’s failure to uphold human rights, such as
that those to a fair trial, to freedom of expression and, in the case of
women and ethnic and religious minorities, to freedom from discrimination,
and highlights obfuscations in the Iranian government report.

Iran’s report states that it prohibits the
use of torture to force “confessions” but the reality is very different.
Torture and other ill-treatment for the purpose of extracting confessions
are widespread. Recent Iranian broadcasts of extracts of “show trials”
taking place in Tehran show haggard-looking defendants apologizing and
delivering what appear to be coerced confessions.

Iran’s judicial system is not the independent
force depicted in the government’s report, with sensitive cases heavily
influenced by political considerations. It also discriminates against women
from top to bottom. Women are absent in any of the senior, decision-making
posts, while a woman’s testimony in court is worth only half that of a
man’s and she receives only half the compensation of a man for bodily
injury or death.

Amnesty International’s report criticizes
Iran’s failure to engage with human rights organizations and U.N. human
rights experts, consistently stalling on allowing visits - contrary to
Iran’s own assertions that it has co-operated with human rights groups.
Amnesty International has been denied access to Iran to conduct first-hand
research into human rights violations since April 1979.

Several human rights bills, currently pending
before the Majles, have been under consideration for years without progress.
These include the Juvenile Crimes Investigation Bill, which could reduce
the number of death sentences imposed on juvenile offenders, and the bill
setting out “political crimes,” which was drafted over five years ago,
by a previous parliament.

Amnesty International acknowledged some of
the improvements in legislation referred to in Iran’s report to the United
Nations. These include the revival of the Offices of the Prosecutor, the
equalization of “diyeh” for Muslims with non-Muslims and efforts to combat
human trafficking.

“It is time for Iran to implement the necessary
measures to improve human rights in the country by allowing human rights
defenders to work without fear, journalists to freely report, people to
protest without being exposed to violence and ensuring mechanisms are developed
to improve justice and ensure accountability,” said Hadj Sahraoui.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters,
activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human
rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates
and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.


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