Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council – 22nd Regular Session

Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran

11 March 2013

Australia welcomes the interim report of the Secretary General on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran submitted to the Human Rights Council.

Australia remains deeply concerned by the human rights situation in Iran. Australia remains universally opposed to the death penalty and we are troubled by the reported increase in the number of executions in Iran, including of juvenile offenders and in public.

Australia is deeply concerned about the intimidation and arbitrary arrest of human rights and political activists, the suppression of freedom assembly, and the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities, including Baha’is, who have been subjected to increasing ill treatment.

We welcome the release of Mr Youcef Nadarkhani, who had been sentenced to death for apostasy, but we are concerned about the case of Mr Saeed Abedini, who was sentenced to eight years’ jail on 27 January 2013 for Christian religious activities. We urge the Iranian Government to review this case.

We urge Iran to stay all executions, respect the human rights of all detainees and ensure all trials are conducted fairly. We note the Secretary General’s report states there were at least three confirmed cases in 2012 of detainees who died in custody due to torture or ill-treatment, as well as continued application of the death penalty against minors.

Australia is aware that there is continuing pressure on the media community, and we are concerned about reports that many journalists have been arrested, detained and harassed. We note the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed serious concerns about the shrinking space for freedom of expression and assembly in the lead-up to the Presidential election in June 2013.

We share the Secretary General’s concerns that the Penal Code still discriminates against women and girls as well as ethnic and religious minorities, as well as the continuing inequality of women with regard to marriage, family and inheritance matters.

Australia welcomes Iran’s willingness to allow the Secretary General to visit Iran. However, we echo the Secretary General’s calls for Iran to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Iran, noting the Iranian Government has not permitted visits by thematic special procedures mandate holders since 2005. We also encourage Iran to ratify the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and to engage more closely with UN human rights mechanisms.