The All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG) and the NGO Freedom from Torture organised a panel event to raise greater awareness of on-going serious and systematic human rights violations in Iran, including the persecution and unwarranted judicial prosecution of activists and the media, and the on-going use of torture, on 11 December, 2017.This event was held under the Chatham House rule.
We would like to thank Ann Clwyd MP, PHRG Chair, for chairing this meeting.
The speakers were:
- A survivor activist from the organisation Survivors Speaking Out – speaking on behalf of a torture survivor from Iran who felt unable to speak because of the possibility of reprisals;
- Ann Hannah, Director of Policy at Freedom from Torture;
- Caroline Hurndall, Head of the Iran Unit, FCO;
- Kasra Naji, BBC Persia.
The issues discussed included:
- the findings from Freedom from Torture’s recent report (“Turning a blind eye: why the international community must no longer ignore torture in Iran” – see: www.freedomfromtorture.org/iran);
- the importance of seeking and generating opportunities to raise human rights concerns with the Iranian Government, with a view to holding them to account and encouraging greater compliance;
- the need for the Iranian Government to sign up to the Convention Against Torture and allow for independent monitoring of places of detention; and,
- the sustained campaign of harassment and persecution of BBC Persian staff and people associated with them since the disputed 2009 Presidential election.
The event had particular resonance in light of the crackdown by the Iranian government in response to protests, with the mass arrests and death of protestors serving as another reminder of why human rights violations in Iran should remain a pressing concern.
The PHRG will continue to follow developments in Iran closely, including in connection with on-going allegations of torture, the persecution of HRDs and journalists, the misuse of the death penalty (particularly the execution of juveniles) and consular cases, and will raise its concerns with relevant interlocutors.