These remarks were delivered by Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality
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Thank you Madame President,
Nasrin Sotoudeh has been recently returned to prison and is facing clear health difficulties. Once again, we asked that she can be released and reunited with her family.
The European Union is closely following human rights developments in Iran and we are acutely aware of the deterioration that has occurred during the past year.
Iran’s recent execution of dissident Ruhollah Zam last Saturday is, of course, deeply worrying. As noted in the statement that the High Representative/Vice-President’s Spokesperson issued, the European Union condemns this act in the strongest terms and recalls once again its irrevocable opposition to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances.
Iran continues to execute more than 200 individuals every year. We believe that it is imperative for the Iranian authorities to uphold the due process rights of accused individuals and to cease the practice of using televised confessions to establish and promote their guilt.
All individuals found to have been involved in serious human rights violations, including during the response to the November 2019 protest in Iran, should be held accountable.
While we recognise that Iran continues to host hundreds of thousands of refugees, the human rights situation in Iran remains deeply concerning. The authorities’ repression of peaceful protests and other gatherings continues unabated. Such repression, the restriction of fundamental freedoms or the discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities are features of life for too many Iranian citizens.
Iran continues to hold a number of EU-Iranian dual nationals on doubtful grounds, following trials where the due process rights of the accused were not respected in full. This includes Ahmadreza Djalali, whose situation many Members of this House are following, who remains at risk of imminent execution and whose life we requested to be spared.
We regularly engage with the authorities to urge improvements in the human rights situation in Iran as part of our comprehensive policy towards Iran. This includes asking that the repression of human rights lawyers and defenders, peaceful protesters, ethnic and religious minorities ceases, and that individuals detained as a result of their advocacy for universally recognised human rights be freed.
Iran should uphold its domestic and international rights commitments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it is party to. We have been vocal regarding this demand, including in international fora such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and through public statements whenever this has been justified.
As the European Union, we will continue to call for the release of all arbitrarily detained EU-Iranian dual nationals and Iranian human rights defenders. We also call on Iran to ensure that no individual is detained arbitrarily and that those who are detained are not subject to any form of mistreatment.
All detained individuals should also have timely access to a lawyer of their own and to adequate medical care. This is particularly relevant to the cases of the eight environmentalists who have been detained since January 2018. One of these individuals, Morad Tahbaz, continues to experience severe health problems.
We are encouraged by the attention paid to these issues by individual Members of the European Parliament and we will continue with our efforts to work together with you in order to promote access to fundamental human rights in Iran and across the world.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-200286