Killer candidate

UN Human Rights Council and Iran’s candidacy


Killer candidate
by Elahe Amani

The Islamic Republic of Iran, in a provocative act, has announced its candidacy for the United Nation Human Rights Council, a UN organization based in Geneva. The candidacy of Iran comes at a time that during the last 10 months, Iranians are experiencing one of the darkest periods of human rights violations since 1979 revolution. The candidacy of Iran for the UN Human Rights Council is comparable to electing apartheid South Africa to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination or to awarding the US for humane treatment of detainee’s right after the world was shocked with pictures revealing sexual torture and humiliation of naked prisoners.

The UN Human Rights Council seats are allocated by the regional groups, not by the level of their adherence to human rights standards. The regional groups and the number of their seats are African Group, 13 seats; Asian Group, 13 seats; Eastern European Group, 6 seats; Latin American and Caribbean Group, 8 seats; and Western European and Others Group, 7 seats. To be elected to a seat on the UNHRC for a three-year term, a state must achieve the support of the majority of the members of the General Assembly, i.e. at least 97 votes and council members may seek only one time immediate re-election. While the US voted against the establishment of the UNHRC and boycotted the Council during the Bush Administration, during his first year of presidency, President Obama reversed the previous policy, joined the UNHRC, and proposed to reform it from within by being “engaged” in the UN Human Rights Council.

The current vacancy for the Asia Group is only four, with Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Qatar and Thailand having announced their candidacies. The winners will be chosen by secret ballot within a UN body on May 13 th .

While the four other contenders from Asia group are not necessarily better qualified candidates and do not have a significantly better human rights records, Iran’s human rights violations remains more dire in the three areas of d eath penalty and torture, freedom of expression, & freedom of religion.

Iran’s election to the United Nation Human Rights Council in 2010, the year during which Iranians have endured heightened human rights violations by Iran’s state and non-state actors, will not only shatter the hopes of the Iranian people for recognition and support from the global community in the struggle for civility, rights, and dignity, but also compromises the credibility of UNHRC.

The United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a relatively new inter-governmental entity within the UN System and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly . It was established on March 15 th , 2006 with an overwhelming vote of the UN General Assembly to replace the dysfunctional, heavily criticized Human Rights Commission. The hope was to build a more credible UN Human Rights entity after the UN Human Rights Commission lost the respect of the global community. The 47-nation United Nation Human Rights Council replaced the 53-country UN Human Rights Commission. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan welcomed what he called an "historic resolution... that gives the United Nations a much-needed chance to make a new beginning in its work for human rights around the world.”

At Iran’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva on February 15, 2010 , the head of Iran’s delegation, Mohammad Javad Larijani, remorselessly disregarded all the atrocities documented by human rights defenders, journalists, NGOs, and credible human rights global organizations. He blatantly rejected almost all the recommendations by other states for the remediation of human rights violations in Iran. The Iranian proverb saying “daste peesh migireh ke pas nayofteh” (The best defense is a good offense) precisely sum up the strategy of Islamic Republic of Iran in global and regional organizations.

In a world that aspires to uphold civility and respect for human rights, one would expect that the election of new members to the UN Human Rights Commission would involve the trust of member states to a given country for carrying on the mission of Human Rights Commission. The key question is: would Iran be able to carry the mission of UN Human Rights Council? Would the consistent lack of respect for international bodies and mechanisms deter other states from trusting Iran to further the goals of the UNHRC or the regional politics of countries will open the door to membership of Iran in UNHEC?

Since 2005, the human rights situation in Iran has dramatically worsened . In the aftermath of the Iranian elections on June 12, 2009, the human rights situation has deteriorated even further. Torture, rape, systematic arrests, and imprisonment are usual occurrences. According to Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate, Shirin Ebadi, Iran currently has the distinction of having the world’s highest per capita record of public hangings and executions, with the number almost quadrupling since 2005. A report published by Amnesty International on March 30 th , 2010, states that Iran accounts for 388 of at least 714 executions worldwide. Amnesty International highlights in its 2009 Report that the Islamic Republic is "one of a tiny minority of states where juvenile offenders continue to be executed."

In February 2010, the United Nation Human Rights Council condemned the "unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens" following last year's presidential elections. The execution of child offenders, the use of death penalty against political opponents, the violence against women, the discrimination and the lack of freedom of expression, as well as the prosecution of religious and ethnic minorities, are among some of the gross violations of human rights in Iran.

It should be noted that no United Nation Human Rights Council official has visited Iran since 2005, with numerous requests from special investigators remaining unanswered. In its annual review of human rights practices around the world, Human Rights Watch (HRW) cited Iran as a country that "openly harasses and arbitrarily detains human rights workers and other critics.” HRW documented violence against peaceful protesters, detention of human rights defenders, as well as abuse and torture in Iran’s illegal detention centers.

For the Iranian people, it is disheartening to see civility, rights, and dignity being used as a tool in the hands of states and global forces to further their agendas; it is disheartening to see the disconnect between the words and deeds, to see the states who claim the tall order of taking stand against globalization and militarization rendering support to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country with gross violations of human rights. These states should vote objectively, hear the suppressed voice of Iranian people, and not play deaf and blind to the grave violations of human rights in Iran.

The history of UN human rights organizations demonstrates that their ability to carry out the mandates and to promote and protect all human rights depend overwhelmingly on the commitment of its members to mission and goals of the organization. The election of 14 new members on May 13 th 2010 provides an opportunity to ensure (within the existing limitations i.e. lack of full adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by any state) that only states that have demonstrated relatively more commitment and effective action to protect human rights will be elected to the vacant seats of the UNHRC.

Member states of UN General Assembly should set aside the politics, particularly regional politics, from qualifying candidates for membership in UNHRC and vote objectively based on the human rights record of the candidates.


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MM: Thanks for the list Kyrgystan and Saudi Arabia

by Q on

are supposed to serve with the US in 2012. quite the competition!

That should make for a few awkward press questions from President Obama, if he raises this issue about Iran.


on a second thought, bavafa,

by vildemose on

on a second thought, bavafa, you might be right. They would surely aberoozi khahand kard on the world stage and it can't be bad for the opposition...


خدا از دهنت بشنفه، مهرداد جان.


I hope so.


Actually it may not be bad

by Bavafa on

Actually it may not be bad idea if Iran gets it and it may serve as a blessing in disguise.

I may be naïve but this may just bring so much more focus on Iran and its human rights practices… don't you think so?

I can imagine… any time the Iranian counsle going to open his mouth… some one will stand and tell em.. zip, zip, zip it. Boy, it would be even great if they know Farsi…. "maan nakon mane kaasi aval khodat baadan kassi"



Many of d current council members are not d hubs of democracy

by MM on

Furthermore, since the final 2010 vote on the state of human rights in Iran

General Assembly Adopts 56 Resolutions, 9 Decisions Recommended by Third Committee on Broad Range of .......

in the UN general assembley was approved by a vote of 74 in favour to 48 against, with 59 abstentions, I do not see a big push to exclude Iran from the council.  Just take a look at the current members (cf., Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, .....).

I think a better question is: What should the qualifications of the members of the UN Human Rights Council be?

Current members (expiration date):

African States (13): Angola (2010), Burkina Faso (2011), Cameroon (2012), Djibouti (2012), Egypt (2010), Gabon (2011), Ghana (2011), Madagascar (2010), Mauritius (2012), Nigeria (2012), Senegal (2012), South Africa (2010), Zambia (2011).

Asian States (13): Bahrain (2011), Bangladesh (2012), China (2012), India (2010), Indonesia (2010), Japan (2011), Jordan (2012), Kyrgyzstan (2012), Pakistan (2011), Philippines (2010), Qatar (2010), Republic of Korea (2011), Saudi Arabia (2012).

Eastern European States (6): Bosnia and Herzegovina (2010), Hungary (2012), Russian Federation (2012), Slovakia (2011), Slovenia (2010), Ukraine (2011).

Latin American & Caribbean States (8): Argentina (2011), Bolivia (2010), Brazil (2011), Chile (2011), Cuba (2012), Mexico (2012), Nicaragua (2010), Uruguay (2012).

Western European & Other States (7): Belgium (2012), France (2011), Italy (2010), Netherlands (2010), Norway (2012), United Kingdom (2011), United States (2012).


vilemose is 100% right.

by Arthimis on

Thank you for your simple logic about this here...

It's unbelievable how some Iranians think!!! Let alone act... Honestly.... I will refrain from further comment on this...


Free Iran and True Iranians! 


Let the UN decay and move

by vildemose on

Let the UN decay and move it to Somalia where pirates reign supreme or to Iran where criminal  velayte vaghih orders rape, murder, limb-cutting, tongue cutting, face slashing of  their own citizesn. The US does not need to spend our tax dollars to keep the monsterosity in NY alive.

Create a brand new League of Democracies – every few years admit countries which can prove their democratic credentials by first separating church from state, second, not by holding a phony election but by building stable democratic institutions. 


According to Pess TV, the

by vildemose on

According to Pess TV, the chief propaganda arm of the Islamic Rapists, the UN human rights chief was invited to Iran.

UN human rights chief invited to Iran




Amazing. A killer

by vildemose on

Amazing. A killer government representative in charge of human rights.. According to basijee logic, if murders  and criminalsare allowed be part of the jury, they will exert more restrain in their killings. Only a basijee can come up with such twisted logic.

Basijee and their ilks must be brought to Justice in a free Iran.


I hope Iran gets in

by Abarmard on

It will be good for Iran and the people of Iran. The more you encourage the Iranian government to take part in international events and forums, the more Iranian government becomes responsive to the world concerns.