Honorable António Guterres,
Secretary-General of the United Nations
October 19, 2016
On behalf of the Union for Secular Republic and Human Rights in Iran, I like to congratulate you on your new position as the Secretary General of the United Nations. You have assumed the responsibility of managing the world organization at a time when humanity is in desperate need of peace, security and defense of human rights.
Your universally admired service as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is bound to encourage peace and human rights activists across the world to become more hopeful in pursuing their goals.
As a member of this global community, I am writing to bring to your attention the abominable abuse of human rights in Iran. The recent report of your predecessor, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and numerous reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, leave no doubt that the Islamic Republic of Iran is an unconscionable violator of the most basic rights of its citizens. Arbitrary arrests and secret trial of human rights activists, political dissidents and members of the Baha’i faith have become routine. The regime openly defends torture and death by stoning. In 2015, more than 1000 individuals were executed. Lawyers who try to defend prisoners of conscious end up being arrested and tortured for their professional duty. Even Iranians with dual citizenship are not safe in Iran.
Honorable Secretary General,
The case of Nargess Mohammadi exemplifies the pathological attitude of the Iranian security apparatus toward female human rights activists. Ms. Mohammadi is the Vice-President of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC) and winner of 2011 Per Anger
Prize for human rights. Her courageous defense of gender equality and her involvement in LEGAM, a group committed to the abolition of death penalty, has so angered Iran’s authorities that they convicted her to 16 years of incarceration in a secret trial. It is important to note that Iran’s judicial system, to the extent that it deals with dissident thinkers and activists, has absolutely no independence and is simply used as a tool of the state’s security apparatus. While in prison, she developed an epilepsy-like disease causing her to periodically lose muscle control.
Mr. Secretary General,
May I request that in your meeting with Iranian authorities to remind them of their obligations to respect human rights principles as a member of the United Nations? And I urge you to raise questions about the case of Ms. Mohammadi. Moreover, Iran should allow Ms. Asma Jahangir, the newly appointed Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, to visit the country in order to conduct her investigation of the human rights situation in Iran. I also suggest that you contact Western diplomats who have served or currently serving in Tehran to see what kind of information they can give you about their interaction with Iranian officials concerning human rights issues. I know for a fact that many of them express concerns about abuse of rights in Iran and, thus, conversation with them can be useful to anyone interested in learning about human rights abuses in Iran.
Please let me know if our organization can be helpful to you in pursuing your challenging task.
International Relations Coordinator