Rouhani should honor voters’ demand for human rights

(August 21, 2013) Iranian president Hassan Rouhani should take concrete steps to curb widespread human rights abuses by the government of Iran and reinstate the rule of law in the country, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today.

In a briefing paper released today, Fulfilling Promises: A Human Rights Roadmap for Rouhani, the Campaign details ongoing human rights violations occurring under the purview of nine separate ministries that are under the authority of the president, and provides recommendations he can implement to put an end to these violations. The report also notes executive powers and areas that are under the president’s direct control, which enable him to take immediate measures to address rights violations.

While the document is by no means comprehensive, the Campaign provides it as a starting point for Rouhani to begin fulfilling his campaign promise to uphold the rights of the people.

“For too long, a culture of impunity has prevailed in Iran, allowing the most egregious human rights violations to continue unchecked,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Campaign. “The people have spoken. President Rouhani must use his mandate to uphold the constitution and defend the people’s rights.”

Although Iran’s executive branch is limited in scope, the ministries under its purview are responsible for a wide range of human rights violations. The president therefore is empowered to prevent and stop these violations. Rouhani pledged to uphold the Iranian constitution at his inauguration; hence he should immediately implement changes to amend harmful policies, monitor the performance of officials within his administration, and uphold the mechanisms guaranteeing the implementation of the Iranian constitution.

A number of institutions outside of the executive branch—including the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization (IRGC), the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), and the Judiciary—have become safe harbors for human rights violators. However, as head of the executive branch and principal enforcer of the constitution, the president has the authority to hold these state institutions accountable by investigating and formally noting any violations of the rights guaranteed by the Iranian constitution. He can also introduce legislation and issue orders regarding government practices, affording him significant ability to affect the state of human rights in Iran.

During the 2013 presidential election campaign in Iran, millions of Rouhani’s supporters demanded social and political rights, including the release of political prisoners from prison and house arrest. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran welcomes the election of Rouhani, the only candidate to address issues of human rights, and entreats him to heed the voices raised during his campaign and use all tools at his disposal to fulfill his promises to uphold the rights of the people.

The Campaign further urges Rouhani to put an end to years of animosity towards activists and instead engage with the Iranian and international human rights communities who work to protect the rights of the Iranian people.

By Iran Human Rights



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