Protest Planned Following News of Iranian Minister’s Invitation to UN

It has been reported that a protest will take place in Geneva in front of the United Nations headquarters because the Human Rights Council is allowing Iranian Justice Minister Alireza Avaie to attend the its annual meeting in Geneva this week.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is also slamming the organisation for allowing him to attend later this week too. At the weekend she released a statement saying that she is astounded that a minister with such a reputation would be allowed to speak at the meeting. She said that it should be “ashamed” that someone who has been called out for participating in violations of human rights will be present at such an event.

In her statement, Haley said that the Human Rights Council is discrediting itself. “The Human Rights Council should be ashamed to allow Mr. Avaie to address its membership. Yet again the Council discredits itself by allowing serial human rights abusers to hijack its work and make a mockery of its mandate to promote universal human rights. This does nothing but reinforce the United States’ call for much needed reforms at the Council for it to be viewed as a good investment of our time and money.”

Avaie has been involved in some horrific violations and the Iranian opposition has criticised his involvement in the 1988 massacre in which around 30,000 political prisoners were killed when the Supreme Leader issued a fatwa calling on all political opponents to be murdered.

Nikki Haley is not the only one to criticise the Human Rights Council. Activists around the world, including from Iran, are voicing their concern and are calling on people to attend the protests later in the week.

The main opposition to the corrupt Iranian regime is the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). It has said that Avaie’s invitation to the meeting is worrying and said that the fact he is being allowed to address the Human Rights Council is “disgraceful”. NCRI member Shahin Gobadi said that it “would make a mockery of the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms”.

Mr. Gobadi highlighted that Avaie was sanctioned by the European Union in 2011. He was the top prosecutor in Tehran and was therefore seen as “responsible for human rights violations, arbitrary arrests, denials of prisoners’ rights, and an increase in executions”.

Amnesty International has recently drawn attention to the numerous violations of human rights that are taking place on a daily basis in Iran. The poor treatment of political prisoners and dissidents is unacceptable and urgent action is required. Prisoners are very badly mistreated and are often tortured. Inhuman punishments are often handed out and there is no due process. Many prisoners are denied the presence of a lawyer at their trial.

It also drew attention to the impunity that the Iranian regime is still facing with regards to the 1988 massacre. Some of the officials that were involved in the executions and the ordering of the executions still hold high positions in the Iranian government and many activists are calling for justice.