The EU would like to take this opportunity to offer our condolences on the tragic passing of Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation of the Islamic Republic of Iran and a prominent Human Rights Defender, Ms. Asma Jahangir – a true champion of human rights and a great example to us all.
The EU appreciates the opportunity to have this discussion on the report of the late Special Rapporteur. We welcome the report which provides detailed information on the human rights situation in Iran, as well as on legislative developments and their implementation. We note that it focuses specifically on several civil and political rights, the human rights of women and rights of persons belonging to ethnic or religious minorities.
We take positive note of the Government’s willingness to explore steps to reduce the number of executions in the country. In this regard we welcome legislative reforms such as the amended Anti-Narcotics Law that – if properly implemented - will significantly reduce the application of the death penalty for drug offences. However, the continued use of the death penalty, including against juvenile offenders, remains of deep concern to us. Death sentences for crimes committed by persons below the age of eighteen are contrary to Iran’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Furthermore, the EU is opposed to the death penalty under all circumstances and aims at its universal abolition.
The EU, which is deeply committed to the protection of fundamental freedoms such as the freedom of opinion and expression online and offline as well as freedom of peaceful association and assembly, finds the arrest, detention and harassment of persons exercising these rights deeply worrying The EU urges the Government to revise its policies, actions and laws in order to assure the protection of these rights.
The EU is concerned by the recent wave of arrests, including a group of environmentalists, and of several alleged suicides committed in Iranian prisons. In this context, we urge Iranian authorities to investigate into deaths and alleged cases of abuse.
The EU is also seriously concerned about the situation of persons belonging to recognized and unrecognized religious and ethnic minorities in Iran as well as LGBTI. While noticing some progress in the area of women’s rights, the EU calls on the Government to take further measures to ensure the full enjoyment of women’s and girls’ rights and to prohibit all forms of child marriage.
The adoption of the Charter on Citizen’s Rights in December 2016 was a positive step and the EU is looking forward to its further implementation on the ground.
On November 20th 2017 the second EU-Iran exploratory talks on human rights took place as part of their High Level political dialogue. The EU looks forward to continuing discussions on human rights in the context of the next round of the political dialogue.
The EU notes positively the improved engagement of the Government with the special procedures and ongoing dialogue with the late Special Rapporteur and calls upon the Iranian Government to fully cooperate with the new Special Rapporteur - once appointed - including the facilitation of a country visit.
I thank you, Mr President.