The Committee to Protect Journalists has joined 29 other organizations in calling on member states of the U.N. General Assembly to vote in favor of a resolution for the promotion and protection of human rights in Iran. The vote is scheduled to take place on November 18.
The letter coincides this week with the premiere of the movie “Rosewater.” Directed by “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, the film tells the story of how the Iranian government detained Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari for 118 days for “media espionage,” a charge made up when authorities failed to prove other accusations made against him. The movie is set at the height of a crackdown on Iranian journalists and opposition figures in the wake of protests against the contested 2009 presidential election results. Bahari was long ago released, but the crackdown never ended and journalists to this day face the same treatment–or worse.
That is why it is essential for member states to join together to vote for the resolution. As the letter states, the election of President Hassan Rouhani last year has not changed how “human rights abuses are deeply rooted in Iran’s laws and policies.” The letter explains that a vote in favor of the resolution will “send a strong signal to the government and all Iranians that the world is invested in genuine human rights improvements in the country” at a time when officials are promising reform and seeking broader international engagement. CPJ especially has its eye on member states that claim to seek a greater leadership role in the world but disappointingly voted “no,” like India, or abstained, like Brazil and South Africa, in a vote for last year’s version of the resolution.
A link to the full letter is available here.