GENEVA (24 April 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Asma Jahangir, has denounced a report published by the Iranian News Agency (IRNA) alleging that she was planning to undertake a visit to Saudi Arabia in order to defame the authorities in Tehran.
The report also suggested that Ms. Jahangir intended to carry out the mission on behalf of military interests. But the Special Rapporteur has condemned and vehemently denied the news item.
“I am appalled by this fabricated and malicious news story which is clearly aimed at compromising my integrity and independence, both of which are recognized internationally,” said Ms. Jahangir.
“Anyone who has a substantive disagreement with a Special Rapporteur’s assessment can always express their doubts. However, it is unacceptable for mandate holders to be subjected to defamation campaigns when discharging their duties, which are established by the United Nations Human Rights Council,” she stressed.
“These accusations unfortunately reinforce the assessment I made in my first report to the UN Human Rights Council about the climate of fear which exists in Iran, where similar methods are used to silence those expressing dissenting opinions,” she added.
The Special Rapporteur reiterated that campaigns of vilification would neither put her on the defensive nor compromise her independence in reporting the challenges faced by Iranians with regard to their rights, dignity and freedoms.
Ms. Asma Jahangir (Pakistan) was designated as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Human Rights Council in September 2016. Ms. Jahangir was elected as President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and as Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Over the years, she has been recognized both nationally and internationally for her contribution to the cause of human rights and is a recipient of major human rights awards. She has worked extensively in the field of women’s rights, protection of religious minorities and in eliminating bonded labour. She is a former Special Rapporteur on summary executions, and on freedom of religion.
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.