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UN Sec-Gen Lays Out Iran Rights Concerns

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has issued a statement drawing attention to Iran's official treatment of women, juveniles convicted of capital crimes, and the Baha'i religious minority.

RFE/RL's Radio Farda recently documented one of the starkest signs of Baha'i harassment in the form of exodus.

Basing his criticisms on a recent UN report, Ban challenges Iran's authorities to meet their obligations to the Baha'is and other non-Muslims under their own constitution:

The country's constitution explicitly states Islam to be the State religion, but includes provisions for religious minorities.

The Secretary-General said that there continue to be reports of members of the Baha'i community facing arbitrary detention, false imprisonment, confiscation and destruction of property, denial of employment and government benefits and denial of access to higher education.

"A significant increase has been reported in violence targeting Baha'is and their homes, shops, farms and cemeteries throughout the country," he wrote, adding that there have been several cases of torture and ill treatment of the group in custody.

On gender-based discrimination, Ban notes strides in areas of women's health and education but cites "challenges in gender equity and equality and empowerment of women."

The UN secretary-general expresses concern at Iranian authorities' continued execution of young people whose crimes were committed before they turned 18 despite a moratorium and international revulsion. Ban urges them to revisit laws that make boys criminally liable before their 15th birthdays and girls before their ninth birthdays, ages that he calls "not only discriminatory but also low by international standards."

"Iran is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which obligate States parties to not impose the death penalty on those who commit crimes under the age of 18," Ban says.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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