New York-based Human Rights Watch expressed serious concern Tuesday that a resolution on Iran at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights may be in jeopardy.
The international monitoring organization said in a press release that escalating arrests of peaceful activists while the Commission has been meeting only underscore the need for the member states of the Commission to support the draft resolution when it comes up for a vote this week.
"According to HRW, a 'yes' vote for the resolution “is essential to support those Iranians struggling against great odds to change the situation for the better. Anything less will send a terrible signal, not only to Iranian reformers but to human rights defenders and advocates everywhere.”
"Scores of courageous Iranians have been rounded up and jailed in the last few weeks," said Joe Stork, Washington director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch.
"Defeat of the resolution at the Commission would be a terrible blow for the supporters of peaceful political reform.”
Human Rights Watch noted that journalists and students remain in prison -- many after closed-door trials -- and religious minorities continue to face persecution.
In the past year, the Judicial Branch, a conservative stronghold, has closed more than thirty independent newspapers and journals. The judiciary has thwarted efforts by President Mohammad Khatami to bring to justice officials responsible for a series of brutal murders of political dissidents in late 1998.
" Human Rights Watch last week condemned the arrests since April 7 of more than forty independent political activists as a "creeping coup," aimed at derailing Iran's presidential election scheduled for June 8.
The authorities have released 16 out of 42 Iranian pro-reformists belonging to the Freedom Movement in Iran. They were arrested on charges of plotting to overthrow the Islamic regime – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )