Statement by Ambassador Martin Shearman, of the UK Mission to the United Nations, on the Third Committee resolutions on Iran

Statement by Ambassador Martin Shearman, of the UK Mission to the United Nations, on the Third Committee resolutions on Iran

Published by on November 27, 2016

foreign-commonwealth-officeFrom: Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Martin Shearman, Ambassador at the UK Mission to the UN, New York, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Delivered on: 15 November 2016 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
Location: United Nations
First published: 16 November 2016
Part of: UK Mission to the United Nations, New York



Statement by Ambassador Martin Shearman, of the UK Mission to the United Nations, on the Third Committee resolutions on Iran

Thank you very much Madam Chair,
The United Kingdom welcomes the resolution on human rights in Iran and thanks Canada for keeping this issue on the agenda for consideration in the Third Committee.

The United Kingdom remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Iran. We are particularly concerned about the number of executions that continue to take place in Iran, and especially executions of juveniles and those convicted of crimes that are not deemed the “most serious” under international law. We also have serious concerns about limitations on the right to freedom of religion or belief, restrictions on freedom of expression, the operation of the rule of law and women’s rights within Iran.

The United Kingdom believes that this resolution is evidence-based and balanced. The resolution acknowledges progress where it has been made but also identifies areas where Iran needs to do more. In addition this resolution provides a useful platform for engagement with Iran, not only for UN member states and the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, but also the human rights NGOs.

The United Kingdom welcomes re-engagement with Iran following the nuclear deal. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a major achievement and we are committed to Iran seeing the benefit of sanctions relief. But it remains crucial that we keep a focus on human rights and continue to hold the Iranian Government to account for its human rights record.

Finally Madam Chair,
We would like to express disappointment at the attempt made by some delegations to misuse the rules of procedure to undermine the mandate of this committee. We note with appreciation that a wide range of countries chose to oppose that attempt and to allow this, and other resolutions under this agenda item, to be considered on their merits.

I thank you, Madam Chair.


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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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