The Committee to Protect Journalists, along with 35 human rights groups, today joined a call for member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran at the council’s 28th session.
The letter urged U.N. member states to encourage Iranian authorities to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur to advance the promotion and protection of human rights in Iran. It highlighted the need for the post because of systematic human rights violations, such as those recorded by Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed in his report in October 2014. The letter also highlighted how the post is a useful tool for the council and international community to help support Iranian civil society and journalists.
Despite initial hopes of an improvement in human rights under President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, at least 30 journalists were imprisoned in the country when CPJ carried out its annual census in December. The figure made Iran the second leading country in detaining journalists globally, according to CPJ research. Among those being held is Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who has been imprisoned for more than seven months without charges against him being disclosed publicly, according to news reports. Today, Rezaian’s family, colleagues, and friends will gather at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to draw attention to his plight.