Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

France/Iran: Address Rights During Rouhani Visit

Presidents Should Discuss Concerns
PARIS -

President François Hollande and President Hassan Rouhani should raise major human rights concerns in both countries when President Hassan Rouhani visits Paris on January 27 and 28, 2016 Human Rights Watch said today. An agenda of important political and economic issues should not prevent both presidents from raising their concerns. In Iran these include the death penalty, the abuse of rights of women and minorities, violations of freedom of expression, and the detention of activists and political prisoners. In France, the state of emergency declared by President Hollande extends police powers in ways that threaten to interfere with rights to liberty, privacy, and freedoms of movement, association and expression.

“Iran should release all those jailed simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression or assembly, while France needs to ensure that it uses its sweeping powers in narrowest possible way for the shortest possible time,” said Bénédicte Jeannerod, France director. “Talks on Syria and economic cooperation between Iran and France need to also include a frank discussion of human rights.”

For several years, Iran has had one of the highest rates of executions in the world. Iran applies the death penalty for offenses that do not constitute internationally recognized “most serious crimes,” including non-violent drug offenses. In many cases, the death penalty has been imposed after judicial proceedings that did not comply with international fair trial standards, some on the basis of coerced confessions.

Women are subject to systemic discrimination in various ways, including in access to employment or in legally regulated matters regarding marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. As documented by Human Rights Watch’s #Watch4Women campaign, women are even banned from stadiums hosting competitions such as men’s volleyball tournaments.

Violations of freedom of expression remain pervasive, with regular arrests of journalists and bloggers, and prosecution of Internet-related crimes by security forces and revolutionary courts. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Iran is one of the countries with the largest number of jailed journalists in the world.

 President Hollande should emphasize respect for human rights during his discussions with President Rouhani, and call in particular for the following steps:

  • Free imprisoned journalists, human rights defenders, activists and other individuals who were convicted in Iran after unfair trials;

  • End discriminatory practices against women, including by amending legislation to advance women’s rights.

  • Amend laws that permit the execution of people convicted of offenses that do not meet the “most serious crimes” standard, in particular drug offenders; and

  • Suspend all executions of prisoners who have been sentenced to death, often after unfair trials.

###

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Our rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to...

Norwegian 'People vs. Arctic Oil' Case Heads to European Human Rights Court

"We have to take action now to limit irreversible damage to our climate and ecosystems to ensure livelihoods for the coming generations," said one activist.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


'Let Scientific Evidence Determine Origin' of Covid-19, Say Heads of US National Academies

"Misinformation, unsubstantiated claims, and personal attacks on scientists surrounding the different theories of how the virus emerged are unacceptable."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


EU Parliament Overwhelmingly Votes to End Caged Animal Farming

1.4 million people across Europe signed a petition to "End the Cage Age," and MEPs are now calling for a ban by 2027.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


Frontline Foe of Formosa Plastics Plant in 'Cancer Alley' Among 2021 Winners of 'Green Nobels'

Sharon Lavigne, the North American recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, is being recognized for stopping construction of a plastics manufacturing plant in her Louisiana community.

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


50+ Groups Urge Biden to Swiftly Fill Open Seat on FCC to Remedy Digital Divide, Restore Net Neutrality

"If we are to reach the goal of having a country where everyone, no matter their address or size of their bank account, has affordable access to high-speed internet, we need a full commission as soon as possible."

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·