UN Rights Council’s Biased Approach Denounced

UN Rights Council’s Biased Approach DenouncedUN Rights Council’s Biased Approach Denounced

A senior judicial official criticized the United Nations for pursuing a "double standard" approach by appointing special rapporteurs to certain member states under its Human Rights Council's Special Procedures.

"A major obstacle to promoting human rights is the adoption of double standards and political machinations by the United Nations instead of [truly] pursuing the human rights," Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, told IRNA.

He made the remarks on Saturday before departing for Geneva, Switzerland, to attend the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which began on February 26 and lasts until March 23.

"The human rights issue has been exploited as a cover for terrorists and terrorist acts based on the belief that if terrorists are tagged as human rights advocates, it solves the issue. But that belief is wrong," he said. The Special Procedures mandate holders include special rapporteurs, independent experts or working groups composed of five members who are appointed by the council, according to UN Human Right's Council website. 

They undertake country visits, act on individual cases and concerns of a broader, structural nature by sending communications to states and other actors to bring alleged violations or abuses to their attention, contribute to the development of international human rights standards, engage in advocacy and raise public awareness, among other responsibilities.

There are two types of Special Procedures mandates, namely the thematic mandates and the country-specific mandates. Special rapporteurs report at least once a year to the council on their findings and recommendations, as well as to the UN General Assembly. At times they are the only mechanism alerting the international community to certain human rights issues.

In the latest of such reports on Iran published earlier this month, the council accused the Islamic Republic of a range of human rights violations from mistreating journalists to arbitrary detentions and unfair trials. It was compiled by Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani lawyer serving as UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran who died suddenly last month.

Iran has dismissed the allegations as "biased" and "politically-motivated", and condemned the report for failing to take note of the many steps Tehran has taken to meet its rights obligations and development goals.

An example of such steps was cited in the last week's speech to the Geneva forum of Justice Minister Alireza Avaei, who said Iran's recent reforms to its drug laws have led to fewer executions.

  UPR Monitoring Regime  

Larijani called on the council to stick to its established human rights monitoring regime of the Universal Periodic Review.

"The UPR is a quite reasonable mechanism that demands accountability from all countries. It is only one example of the many programs the Islamic Republic of Iran has successfully implemented in close cooperation with other countries."

UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN member states and provides each state with the opportunity to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations.  It has been designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed. The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists.

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