The United Nations Human Rights Council has approved the establishment of a Special Rapporteur to investigate and report on escalating human rights abuses in Iran. The 47 member Council voted 22 to seven for a resolution, co-sponsored by the U.S. and a wide range of over 50 countries, establishing the position.
It is the first time since 2002 that a country-specific human rights monitor for Iran has been approved by the United Nations, and the first country-specific Special Rapporteur mandate authorized since the Council replaced the Commisssion on Human Rights in 2006. If the Iranian government permits the Special Rapporteur to visit Iran, as the resolution urges, it will be the first time any U.N. human rights monitor will have visited Iran since 2005.
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said she believed there was strong cross regional support in the Council for a Special Rapporteur on Iran because the human rights conditions in Iran "are extreme."
The vote in the Council took place following a report by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon describing those conditions, including arbitrary arrest and detentions, spiraling executions, torture, persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, and repression of lawyers, journalists and opposition activists.
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi called the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on Iran "a strong message of support to the Iranian people from the international community that they are not forgotten, and gross violations of their rights will not be tolerated."
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Independent investigation and reporting by the Special Rapporteur will help the international community responsibly address the serious human rights abuses in Iran. It will also give voice to the many Iranians who long not only for reform, but for their government to respect their most basic human rights and freedoms."