Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Iran
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Geneva, 12 March 2012
Statement delivered by Ambassador Christian Strohal,
Permanent Representative of AUSTRIA
Thank you Mme President,
Mr Special Rapporteur,
Austria fully aligns herself with the statement of the European Union.
We thank you for this report and presentation here today. Austria is a strong supporter of your mandate and will support its renewal at this session. However, we have to express regret that the report was only made available to delegations at such a late time.
Austria is deeply concerned over the deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The growing number of death sentences and executions, including pubic ones, is extremely deplorable. Death sentences against children and public executions are particularly appalling. We fully support the call by the Special Rapporteur to prohibit the death penalty for cases that do not meet the standard of "serious crime" as defined by international law. Austria is also urging the government to put in place a moratorium on the death penalty, in particular in the light of the consistent pattern in Iran of violations of due process standards.
We fully share your concern about the systematic persecution of members of unrecognized religious minorities. In this context, Austria is especially concerned about the large number of members of the Baha’i community imprisoned in Iran.
We would like to ask you to further elaborate on these cases.
Austria is also concerned about the protection of Journalists in Iran. According to your report, the Islamic Republic of Iran has detained more journalists that any other country in the world, with 42 journalists currently imprisoned. Many journalists flee the country owing to fear of repression and persecution. These developments are highly deplorable. Austria calls on Iran to stop attacks against journalists and provide a safe environment for them to operate, in accordance with Iran’s obligation under international human rights law.
Austria would be interested to see more information on attacks against journalists in your future reporting.
In view of recent reports according to which the Iranian authorities aim at restricting the freedom of the internet, as well as increasing repression against artists, filmmakers and their institutions, Austria would also be interested in regular information on these topics.
Finally, Austria seriously deplores the lack of cooperation by the government and urges the Islamic Republic of Iran to allow full and unhindered access for you to the country and to fully engage with all the special procedures, treaty bodies and the OHCHR, in order to overcome the serious human rights problems in the country.
I thank you!