3 May 2010
WRITTEN QUESTION by Marietje Schaake (ALDE) and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (ALDE) to the Council
Subject: Iran’s bid to join the UN Human Rights Council on 13 May
According to the website of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Iran is one of the five Asian countries which will be seeking admission to the UN Human Rights Council on 13 May 2010 (http://www.un.org/ga/64/elections/hrc/index.shtml#candidates). Iran and four other countries — Thailand, Qatar, Malaysia and the Maldives — will compete to fill four available seats set aside for the Asian regional group. Iran is a serious contender.
Iran has an abysmal human rights record, as pointed out by the UN, among others, in its Universal Periodic Review of 15 February 2010 (http://www.upr-info.org/-Iran-.html). The Human Rights Council itself condemned ‘the unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens’ in February 2010. Iran’s human rights violations in the fields of the death penalty and torture, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion are notably worse than those of the other candidates from the Asian region. Iran, for example, continues to execute juvenile offenders. Furthermore, according to Human Rights Watch, Iran ‘openly harasses and arbitrarily detains human rights workers and other critics’ (http://www.hrw.org/en/world-report-2010).
1. Taking into account Iran’s disregard for human rights, does the Council agree that Iran’s bid to join the Human Rights Council should be opposed on the basis of Article 8 of Resolution 60/251 of the General Assembly, which states that ‘states shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights’? If not, why not? (http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/A.RES.60.251_En.pdf)
2. If so, will the Council and High Representative Ashton take action to ensure that all European Member States speak with one voice in voting against Iran’s bid for membership of the UNHRC on 13 May, as proposed by the German Secretary of Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle in his speech on 3 March 2010, in which he referred to Iran’s bid as ‘an affront to all the values on which the Council is based’? If not, why not? (http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/diplo/en/Infoservice/Presse/Reden/2010/100303-BM-MRR.html).
3. Will the Council and High Representative Ashton, in coordination with relevant partners, take further action on the international stage to discourage other members of the HRC from voting in favour of Iran’s bid? If so, can Parliament, in due time, be made aware of these actions? If not, why not?
Please find the answer here.