Ahmad Shaheed

Twenty human rights groups have issued a joint statement calling for the renewal of Ahmad Shaheed’s United Nations mandate as special rapporteur on human rights in Iran.

On March 21 and 22, the United Nation’s Human Rights Council will vote on renewing Shaheed’s mandate.

The rights groups’ statement says human rights are deteriorating in Iran. With the Islamic Republic’s steely refusal to cooperate with UN organizations, they say the member states’ support of Shaheed’s mission in Iran is more vital than ever.

Shaheed released his second human rights report on March 7, attaching the testimony of several self-declared victims of human rights violations and declaring that his investigations have revealed a “striking pattern of violations.”

Iranian authorities have slammed Shaheed’s report, accusing him of bias. However, the Islamic Republic has vehemently denied the rapporteur’s repeated requests to travel to Iran to further corroborate his investigations.

The joint statement cites various reports on the state of human rights in Iran published by numerous international groups. Together with Shaheed’s report, says the statement, they all paint a dark picture.

The groups write that despite the Islamic Republic’s resistance and lack of cooperation, Shaheed has been “successful” in preparing his report, documenting the testimony of more than 100 victims and their families and other reliable sources.

The joint statement maintains that the appointment of a special rapporteur for Iran has “mobilized, in an unprecedented manner, Iranians both inside and outside the country, to engage with the international community.”

The signatories call for the member states of the Human Rights Council to renew Shaheed’s mandate, saying it is “critical to allow Iranians to engage with the international community, put pressure on the Iranian government to comply with its international rights obligations, and allow international human rights bodies and mechanisms to monitor the rights situation in the country.”

The statement’s 20 signatories include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and Reporters Without Borders.