- Published on Friday, 24 June 2005 00:00
Iranian authorities constantly and increasingly interven with the United Nations officials to have the Iranian activists banned from the United Nations
Backed by prominent jurists and personalities, numerous NGO’s, having a consultative status with the UN, strongly condemn the political pressures and manipulation by the Iranian Government aimed at having human rights activists banned from the United Nations’ bodies
The participants at a press conference, including Mrs. Danielle Mitterrand, Christian Ferrazino (Vice-Chairman of the Geneva Administration Council), Marc Henzelin (lawyer), have also denounced a major failure within the UN as well as the ban illegitimately imposed on several opponents close to or members of the Iranian National Council of Resistance.
In an open letter to Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, they asked for an immediate and unreserved lifting of the ban and designation of an impartial enquiry mission to probe the causes and identify those responsible for this failure.
At a press conference held today, Tuesday, June 14, 2005 at “Club Suisse de la Presse” in Geneva in the presence of Mrs. Danielle Mitterrand, the participants strongly condemned the political pressures and manipulation exerted by the Iranian Government with the aim of silencing human rights activists within the United Nations. They also denounced a major malfunctioning of the UN bodies as well as the illegitimate ban imposed on several opponents close to or members of the Iranian National Council of Resistance.
Furthermore, in an open letter to Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, the contributors to the conference asked for an immediate and unreserved lifting of the ban and designation of an impartial enquiry mission to investigate the causes and identify those responsible for this malfunction.
For years, the Iranian authorities have constantly and increasingly intervened with the United Nations officials to have these Iranian activists 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 including a representative of “France Libertés” with the UNOG. These opponents have been living in Western countries as refugees for more than 20 years and are highly regarded for their peaceful activities in favour of human rights. Some of them are actually citizens of the countries where they reside.
Although these warrants have been enforced neither by the countries of residence of the persons in question nor by the host country to the UNOG, the fact is that they gravely endanger the rights of the victims and call seriously into question the right of every NGO to freely designate its representatives with the meetings organized by the United Nations.
Concerning the UN, Tehran’s objective has been achieved since the convening of the 60th session of the Human Rights Commission held in March 2004, because the people targeted have been barred from access to the UNOG ever since.
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 unjustifiable and unjustified ban lifted. This situation may give 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.
There is 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.
At this press conference, Mrs. Danielle Mitterrand declared: « The function of the NGO’s is precisely to give the opportunity to the direct witnesses of the States’ oppression to speak up. If they are denied this function, the UN shall be nothing but a club of governments. The case of the Iranians at the UN sets a precedent very harmful to its credibility. If the United Nations wants to continue to function, it must go back to the very first phrase of its founding charter “We, the peoples…””.
Mr. Christian Ferrazino, Vice-Chairman of the Geneva Administration Council indicated: “The City of Geneva is happy to support this initiative. Our city had welcome the most famous of the Iranian refugees, Kazem Rajavi, later becoming a prominent teacher here, and who had successfully had the Mullahs’ regime condemned through 9 consecutive resolutions. It is very sad to see that his assassins have not been punished yet”.
Defence lawyer Marc Henzelin said: “This whole affair is rather ridiculous from a legal point of view. The Swiss justice examined with utmost care these famous red notices of the Interpol, but found so many material and factual errors, improper description of the persons incriminated, and evident errors in dates that it concluded there were strong suspicions of a political manoeuvring, therefore it did not deem it useful to pursue the case. It is paradoxal that the UN continues to take these same notices seriously”.
Mr. Eric Sottas, Secretary General of the OMCT declared: “The NGO’s have an increasingly reduced access to the UN. How could they continue to contribute to promoting the human rights in a UN dominated by the governments that do not respect the human rights in their own countries? This is a very serious case that sets a precedent that will be used by other dictatorships as well”.
Bente Kraugerud, the defence lawyer of Mr. Parviz Khazaï, former Iranian Chargé d’affaires in Nordic countries, targeted by an arrest warrant, said for his part : “Several times I have asked Interpol for explanations, but they never gave a precise answer. I can personally testify that my client was physically present in Norway with me at the time they say he committed a terrorist attack in Iran”.
Mr. Flaherty, an international lawyer in Geneva, stated: “In this case, the United Nations abuses its functional immunity. It violates all notions of natural justice”.
Recalling the assassination of his father, Professor Kazem Radjavi, 15 years ago in Tanner (Switzerland) by an assassination team holding “Service Passports” and sent by Tehran, Stéphane Radjavi, a jurist himself, declared: “After physical terrorism, the Mullahs’ regime now applies institutional terrorism at the UN. Is the UN Human Rights Commission still committed to preserving human rights?”
Mr. Christian Grobet, Lawyer and representative of the Swiss League of Human Rights, stated: “The situation is totally Kafka-style. The organization, whose mission is to guarantee the human rights throughout the world, has no internal rule to safeguard and protect the elementary human rights, including that of defence, within its own walls”.
This conference was organized with support from France Libertés – Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, World Organisation against Torture (OMCT), Movement against Racism and for Friendship Among Peoples (MRAP), Conference of Nongovernmental Organisations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (ONGO), Women’s Human Rights International Association (WHRIA), International League for the Rights and Liberation of Peoples (LIDLIP), New Human Rights (NDH), National Federation of International Immigrant Women Association (NFIIWA).
Geneva, June 14, 2005