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Groups Urge UN Action Against Iranian Rights Abuses

Iranian human rights activist and winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi
Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and four human rights organizations have jointly called on the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to more actively defend human rights in Iran, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Ebadi said in a statement that the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Reporters Without Borders, the International Federation for Human Rights and its affiliate, the Iranian League for the Defense of Human Rights, will carefully observe the upcoming second anniversary of the disputed Iranian presidential election on June 12, which triggered widespread popular protests and led to the arrest of hundreds of people.

The statement was posted on June 8 on the International Federation for Human Rights website.

Reza Moeini of Reporters without Borders told Radio Farda in an interview on the same day that "the purpose of this statement was to bring about awareness of the current situation in Iran, in particular the fact that Iranian officials are not held answerable for their actions."

Moeini cited the death on June 1 of political prisoner and women's rights activist Haleh Sahabi after she was reportedly attacked at the funeral of her father, Ezzatollah Sahabi, who had died two days earlier.

"It was neither a preplanned nor an intentional murder, but the reaction of Iranian security officials made it seem so," Moeini said.

Moeini believes that the ongoing failure to discipline or prosecute those responsible for human rights violations has emboldened them to continue violating peoples' rights.

He also cited the case, mentioned in the joint statement, of Canadian-Iranian journalist Zahra Kazemi, who died in 2003 after being beaten in Tehran's Evin prison.

Moeni said the officials responsible for that incident were never brought to trial for her death.

He said that they hope that once a UN special rapporteur for Iran is selected at end of this month, he/she will investigate and put an end to the "institutionalized impunity" of Iranian officials.