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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Your tax dollars at work: Iran intimidating dissidents at 'human rights council'

Anne Bayefsky reports that Iranian government thugs are intimidating dissidents at the United Nations 'human rights council,' for which, in case you have forgotten, the United States pays 22% of the annual budget.
In early March the Iranian mission to the U.N. in Geneva informed the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in writing that 21 officials would be “participating in the 19th session of the Human Rights Council,” now underway. Among them is one Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, “Head of the prisons organization and rehabilitation and preventive programs.”

Esmaeili has another claim to fame — he is on an EU sanctions list and subject to a travel ban and assets freeze as a person “responsible for grave human rights violations.” The EU decision of April 12, 2011, imposing the restrictions specifies that Esmaeili was “complicit in the massive detention of political prisoners and covering up abuses performed in the jailing system.” The Iranian government apparently believed he would be quite comfortable participating in the U.N.’s idea of a human-rights body.

It turns out Iran also thought that by participating in the human-rights body it could import some of the tactics acceptable back home. On March 12, 2012, the U.N. was considering a report on human rights in Iran produced by a special rapporteur/investigator. Iranian dissidents were in attendance as observers. Just prior to the commencement of the so-called “interactive dialogue” between states and the investigator, U.N. security guards approached two dissidents and asked them to step outside for questioning. Iranian diplomats, the guards explained, had complained that the two had been taking photographs of Iranian representatives.

After their laptop was examined, the two NGO members were allowed to return to the Council session but shortly thereafter were approached by Iranian diplomats directly. A loud exchange occurred in the back of the Council chamber itself, with Iranian representatives insisting on examining the computer files of the Iranian NGOs. Ultimately, the diplomatic goons took out their cameras and photographed the NGO members inside the Council room. Despite the fact that multiple complaints over the harassment were lodged with U.N. officials, no U.N. action was taken.

Iranian strong-arm tactics also appear to be having an effect on U.N. member states. This week the Council is expected to adopt a shamefully weak resolution on human rights in Iran. The operative part of the draft is three measly sentences long and fails to mention a single word about human-rights violations in Iran. It puts off doing anything by simply mandating more reports in the future.

The resolution also contains a pitiful plea for Iran “to cooperate” with the U.N. special investigator and “to permit access to visit the country” — notwithstanding the fact that Iran has not admitted a U.N. special rapporteur on human-rights violations in Iran since 1996. As the head of the Iranian delegation Mohammad Javad Ardeshir Larijani, “Secretary of the High Council for Human Rights,” explained to the Council on March 12, 2012, the problem was the “Zionist mafia,” since “we are . . . a democracy system, a polity based on Islamic rationality . . . peaceful and respectful coexistence . . . truth, dignity, and justice.”
I hope you all feel the change from the 'human rights council' since the Obama administration joined it.

Read the whole thing.

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At 4:09 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

It really makes you wonder why there hasn't been a carbombing there like there's been all over the world for decades.....?


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