A report from our correspondent in United Nations – Geneva
For years, the Iranian authorities have constantly and increasingly intervened with the United Nations officials to have the opponents or the Iranian activists and defenders of the human rights close to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), banned from the United Nations bodies, and most particularly from the Human Rights Commission where these activists have always intervened to inform the international community of the aggravated violations of human rights and the reality of the situation in their country. Thus, more than a year ago, in a flagrant diversion of international mechanisms, the Iranian government made up “international warrants for arrest” against several opponents who have been living for more than 20 years in Western countries as refugees and highly regarded for their peaceful activities in favour of human rights. Some of them are actually citizens of the countries where they reside. The objective is to bar them from attending the meetings organized by the human rights bodies of the UN. We are, therefore, faced with a manipulation of the international institutions in order to hamper the work of the defenders at the UN.
As far as Tehran is concerned, its objective has been achieved since the 60th session of the Human Rights Commission, thanks to to the favourable response of the UN officials to this act of manipulation. An act that, regardless of its individual character and the identity of its victims, violates the international law and delivers a severe blow to the right of all NGO’s to freely designate their representatives to the meetings organized by the UN. In this respect, the UN and particularly the Human Rights Commission are turned into a fertile ground where the Iranian authorities export their own violations of the law.
However, the community of the NGO’s has repeatedly expressed its deep concern over this situation, all the more because the numerous actions taken since more than a year ago by the victims of this affair with the corresponding institutions, including UN officials in New York and Geneva, have had no effect in having this illegitimate, unjustifiable and unjustified ban lifted.
This year, for the 61st session of the HRC, “France Libertés- Fondation Danielle Mitterrand” accredited once again one of the victims in this affair to represent it at the Commission and at all services and meetings organized by the High Commissariat for Human Rights.
Yet, he has been barred from access to the UNOG and the HRC’s secretariat has refused to take into account the solid arguments that showed the irregularity of this ban. However, a personal intervention by Mrs. Danielle Mitterrand with the UN’s Secretary General led to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to be mandated to solve this problem in a “just and equitable” manner.
Nevertheless, under political pressure from the Iranian government, in Geneva as well as in New York, all requests for a legal opinion put forward by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Director General of the UNOG or the chairman of the 61st session of the HRC to the Legal Opinion Office of the UN have been to no avail.
Under these conditions, to a legal gap within the UN one may add a number of irregularities, absence of transparency, hesitations and incoherence to explain such an injustice and lack of a firm attitude toward a manipulating member State, condemned 51 times by the UN bodies for its aggravated violations of the human rights and the international law. All this is revealing of a major failure within the principal international organization with the mission of ensuring respect for human rights; since it gives way to a dangerous and crippling jurisprudence that allows any government to feel it has a right to make a selective choice of the NGO representatives who could take part in the Commission’s proceedings or provide information to the UN bodies on the situation in different countries.
On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations, such a jurisprudence could lead to some UN bodies including the HRC.