Tag: <span>U.N. Human Rights Council</span>

Iran Appeals

U.N. Human Rights Council Focus on Iran.

Featured Image: Ebrahim Raisi By Nasim Online, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
On 24 November 2022, the United Nations Human Rights Council held a Special Session on the human rights situation in Iran.  A Special Session is the highest form of attention which the Human Rights Council can take.  The Foreign Minister of Germany came in person to Geneva to present the Special Session resolution.  The resolution which was adopted calls for the creation of a special fact-finding mission to investigate:

“Alleged human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

      Such fact-finding is an essential step towards ensuring that perpetrators are held responsible for their abuses.  While it is unlikely that the government of Iran will allow the fact-finding group to enter the country, the creation of the group after a heated debate indicates the wide-spread international concern with the repression of the demonstrations and the death sentences given by courts to at least five protesters accused of:

“Moharebek” (waging war against God).

     The manifestations began on 16 September 2022 concerning the death of a 22-year old woman Mahsa Amini at the hands of the “morality police“.  She had been arrested for showing too much of her hair under the manditory veil – the Hijab.  Now women cutting their hair in public has become one of the symbols of the manifestations.  The first cries were “Women-Life-Liberty” (Zan- Zevdegi-Azadi) and were focused on women’s issues. 
The manifestations had begun in the Kurdish areas  of Iran, Mahsa Amini being a Kurd.  The manifestations quickly spread to all the other areas of Iran as well.  However, the governmental crackdown has been most brutal against the Kurds – the number killed and arrested. In the nine weeks of manifestations, the issues have become broader and now concern the theocratic nature of the regime itself.
Image: Thousands turn out in Melbourne to stand in solidarity with protests that have broken out in Iran following the death of 22-year old Mahsa (also known as Jina or Zhina) Amini at the hands of the country’s brutal dictatorship and its ‘morality’ police. By Matt Hrkac from Geelong / Melbourne, Australia, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

    Iran: Women-Life-Liberty

The government is seriously worried but is unable to create a counter-vision to its current theocratic framework.  Repression by the police and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is the first line of defence followed by blaming the U.S.A. and Israel as the sources of the manifestations.  While there is an active community of Iranians living in the U.S.A. who are generally liberal in their social-political convictions, the current manifestations are not the results by Iranian exiles or the U.S. and Israeli governments.  There is also wide support in Western Europe for the themes of the manifestations.
     Rather the manifestations have both economic and social causes.  There is a serious economic recession due to multiple causes which has led the often influencial shopkeepers to join the mainfestations by closing their shops. The manifestations also indicate the social, especially the generational differences. Many of those manifesting are young, secondary school and university students.  Although the government has tried to shut down the social media, communications among the young remain strong.
     It is difficult to know how events will develop.  The U.N. Factfinding Mission has its work cut out for it.  Its findings should be followed closely.
 Image: Photos of various protests in London in solidarity with Mahsa Amini. By Garry Knight from London, England, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

A Wind of Change Blows Ever Stronger in Iran.


Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12
Alfred de Zayas Book Reviews

Alfred de Zayas. Building A Just World Order.

Featured Image: Prof. Dr. Alfred de Zayas. By Anonym (ein Gefälligkeitsfoto für Prof. Alfred de Zayas), CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
Alfred de Zayas, a long-time member of the U.N. human rights secretariat having started in 1980; was elected by the U.N. Human Rights Council as an Independent Expert on the Promotion  of a Democratic and Equitable International Order in September 2011.  This book brings together elements of his 14 thematic reports during his six years as as a Special Rapporteur. (Clarity Press, Atlanta GA: 2021, 466pp.)
    Special Rapporteurs are elected by the Human Rights Council as human rights specialists. They can undertake country visits and engage in discussions with a wide range of groups and U.N. secretariat members to raise sensitive issues. Some  Special Rapporteurs are country specific; usually named after long debates in the Council on these countries.  Other Special Rapporteurs deal with broad themes such as the Right to Food, the Right to Housing, the Right to Water and Sanitation, Indigenous Peoples.
Alfred de Zayas draws on the work of other Special Rapporteurs to underline that developing a world order is a holistic process linking armed conflict resolution, human rights promotion, political participation and peacebuilding.
    Special Rapporteurs are not U.N. staff and do not receive a salary for their work; but their work is facilitated by secretaries of the U.N. human rights staff.  As de Zayas writes:

“I am  convinced that the function of a rapporteur is to give impulses and concrete recommendations to governments and civil society, speak clear language, tear down pretences and double standards.  One thing the rapporteur must not be: a guardian for the status quo, a fig leaf for the international community, so that everybody can pretend to have a good conscience and continue business as usual.”

   As de Zayas stresses: 

“A democratic and equitable international order necessarily functions on the basis of multilateralism and international solidarity.  It aims at promoting a culture of peace and dialogue among nations and peoples, fully respecting the sovereignty of States and ensuring that members of civil society in all countries have ample space to express themselves and to enjoy their individual and collective rights and to pursue their traditions, culture and identity.”

    Obviously; as we look at the current world society; there are many obsticles to a culture of peace and dialogue.  De Zayas sets out some of the ways to deal with these obsticles. 

“Honest dealing and the pursuit of peaceful relations is a better strategy if humanity is to reap cooperation and progress in human rights terms.  What is most needed today is mature diplomacy, result-oriented negotiations, a culture of dialogue and mediation.”

    Many of the specific recommendations made have also been made by the Association of World Citizens.  However; de Zayas gives much more background and references to U.N. documents and discussions.  He highlights the important role that non-governmental organizations; (increasingly called civil society) can play.  However; he warns of the backlash against NGOs by governments and business corporations.

    “Greater efforts are needed to limit current attempts to shrink the space of civil society at the international and domestic levels. Arbitrary and undue restrictions on the effective enjoyment of fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression, seriously obstruct the realization of a more democratic international order.”

    This is an important book for those working on the development of world law; a rules-based order in the spirit of the U.N. Charter.
Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

1 2 7