Anwar Khezri, Ayoub Karimi, Davoud Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, Ghassem Abesteh, Kamran Sheikheh and Khosrow Basharat, all from Iran’s Kurdish Sunni minority, are at risk of execution at Raha’i Shahr prison, near Tehran. They were convicted of “corruption on earth” (efsad-e fel-arz) and sentenced to death in grossly unfair trials marred by claims of torture to extract “confessions”.
Iranian authorities agreed to temporarily release Keyvan Samimi, veteran journalist and human rights advocate, from prison on medical grounds, as announced by Samimi’s lawyer on February 1, 2022. Article 522 of the penal code allows detainees to obtain medical leave if the case judge and prison physician agree treatment is “necessary.”
Samimi, 73, has liver disease and other ailments that put him at increased risk of complications if infected with Covid-19.
Authorities granted temporary releases to tens of thousands of detainees in 2020, citing Covid-19 concerns, but many of those imprisoned for peaceful dissent were excluded from the releases. Authorities also announced that social distancing measures would be observed in prisons. Since then, however, numerous human rights defenders arbitrarily detained have become seriously ill or died from complications of Covid-19.
Iran’s prison authorities should continue to facilitate the temporary release of all eligible prisoners and unconditionally release all people detained for peaceful dissent.
Read the original on HRW website
Amnesty International, 23 July 2021, 08:30 UTC
Iran’s security forces have deployed unlawful force, including by firing live ammunition and birdshot, to crush mostly peaceful protests taking place across the southern province of Khuzestan, Amnesty International said today. Video footage from the past week, coupled with consistent accounts from the ground, indicate security forces used deadly automatic weapons, shotguns with inherently indiscriminate ammunition, and tear gas to disperse protesters.
Since protests over severe water shortages erupted in Khuzestan on 15 July, security forces have killed at least eight protesters and bystanders, including a teenage boy, in seven different cities. According to official statements, one police official was also shot dead in Mahshahr. Scores of people, including children, have been injured, including by birdshot, and several are hospitalized in critical condition due to gunshot wounds. Security and intelligence forces have swept up dozens of protesters and activists, including many from the Ahwazi Arab minority, in mass arrests.
“Using live ammunition against unarmed protesters posing no imminent threat to life is a horrifying violation of the authorities’ obligation to protect human life. Protesters in Iran who take to the streets to voice legitimate economic and political grievances face a barrage of gunfire, tear gas, and arrests,” said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Iran’s authorities have a harrowing track record of using unlawful lethal force. The events unfolding in Khuzestan have chilling echoes of November 2019, when security forces unlawfully killed hundreds of protesters and bystanders but were never held to account. Ending impunity is vital for preventing further bloodshed.”
Read full report here
Human Rights Watch – Iranian authorities have engaged in a campaign of harassment and abuse against families of people killed in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in January 2020, Human Right Watch said today. On April 6, 2021, Iranian authorities announced that they had indicted 10 people for their role in the incident but have not provided any public information about their identities, ranks, or the charges against them. Governments participating in the Flight 752 investigation should support family members of victims in pursuing a path for justice and accountability.
From October 2020 to January 2021, Human Rights Watch spoke to 31 family members of victims and people with direct knowledge of the authorities’ treatment of the families. They said that Iran’s security agencies had arbitrarily detained, summoned, abusively interrogated, tortured, and otherwise mistreated victims’ family members. The agencies also failed to return victims’ possessions to their relatives and interfered with burial and memorial gatherings in an apparent attempt to curtail efforts for accountability.
“Iran’s Revolutionary Guard killed 176 people without a shred of accountability, and now Iran’s brutal security agencies are abusing victims’ family members to squash any hope for justice,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Rather than attempting to regain people’s trust through a transparent investigation and redress for the families, the authorities are again silencing accountability efforts.”
On January 3, 2020, a US drone strike in Iraq killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The killing was followed on January 8 by Iranian missile attacks against a US base in Iraq and Iran’s shooting down of a civilian jetliner close to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini international airport. After several initial denials, the Armed Forces Central Command admitted on January 11 that the Revolutionary Guards had “mistakenly” shot down the passenger jet, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board.
Read the report here
SARDASHT, Iran — Maref Ismail Pur was due to be married in the autumn of 1992. At just 24 years old, he was planning ahead – herding sheep in the village of Kollase to save money for the celebrations later that year. It wasn’t until one evening that October that his dreams came crashing down.
“It was a few months after my engagement; I had planned to have my wedding that autumn after saving some money. We were herding the sheep in our usual place and we weren’t close to any military bases, then we decided to go back to the village,” he told Rudaw English from the city of Sardasht in West Azerbaijan province.
It was on the way home that he was thrown to the ground by a loud, “scary noise” ahead of him, where another shepherd has been walking.
“The animals ran away and there was sand all over in the air, I couldn’t see anything,” he said. It wasn’t until the other shepherd rushed to his aid that he realized something was wrong.
“The other shepherd got to me and tried to help me stand up but I fell. When I looked down, I saw that my right leg was blown off.”
The Geneva-based Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor documented a total 2,823 deaths and over 7,000 injuries from landmines and explosive remnants of war in Iran between 1988 and 2017. Though Iran has asked for international help tackling the mammoth task of demining its land, it has annually abstained from signing on to the United Nations treaty banning landmines.
Most of Iran’s estimated 16 million landmines lie in the Iranian provinces bordering Iraq – Ilam, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan, all of which except Khuzestan are Kurdish-majority provinces.
Pur was born to a poor family in Kolase, becoming a shepherd at a young age after his father died to provide for his family of seven siblings.
He was rushed to hospital after the explosion, two mines which had detonated as they made their way back to the village. He was shuttled between hospitals in an effort to pump blood into his mangled body, his left leg and arm also severely injured. In Saqqez, his right leg was amputated just below the knee.
“I was planning to get married but all my dreams were just gone. My fiancée was crying the whole time.”
Now with eight children, he sells fruit on a cart in the city centre to try and keep the family afloat.
” After I was released from the hospital, we didn’t have any income. Relatives or strangers would help us,” he said.
Pur, whose friend Mahmoud also lost a leg in a mine explosion, says work is difficult, and he is still plagued by leg pain, but has no choice but to continue working.
“My life was ruined the day I lost my leg; I haven’t had a good day since. I am asking the authorities and those accountable to help me and my family, either by providing us a place to stay or a monthly income.”
“I know tens of people in the area that are also victims of mine explosions and they weren’t compensated. Their situation is worse than mine.”
“A million thousand tomans ($40) is enough for us,” he added bitterly.
Amnesty International, 7 April 2021
The Amnesty International Report 2020/21 documents the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2020, as well as providing global and regional analysis. It presents Amnesty lnternational’s concerns and calls for action to governments and others. During 2020, the world was rocked by COVID-19. The pandemic and measures taken to tackle it impacted everyone, but also threw into stark relief, and sometimes aggravated, existing inequalities and patterns of abuse.
The authorities heavily suppressed the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Security forces used unlawful force to crush protests. The authorities continued to arbitrarily detain hundreds of protesters, dissidents and human rights defenders, and sentenced many to imprisonment and flogging. Women, as well as ethnic and religious minorities, faced entrenched discrimination as well as violence. Enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment were committed with impunity on a widespread and systematic basis.
Judicial corporal punishments amounting to torture, including floggings and amputations, were imposed. Fair trial rights were systematically violated. The death penalty was used as a weapon of political repression. Executions were carried out, one in public and some others in secret. Those executed included people aged under 18 at the time of the crime. The authorities continued to commit crimes against humanity by systematically concealing the fate and whereabouts of several thousand political dissidents forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret in 1988. Mass graves believed to contain their remains were subject to ongoing destruction.
Read the full report here
URGENT INTERNATIONAL ACTION NEEDED TO SECURE RELEASE OF KURDISH ACITVISTS AND OTHERS ARTBITRARILY DETAINED IN IRAN
February 3, 2021
We, the undersigned 36 civil society and human rights organizations, call for the urgent attention of the international community to an ongoing wave of arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detention, and enforced disappearances by the Iranian authorities, targeting scores of people from Iran’s disadvantaged Kurdish minority in the provinces of Alborz, Kermanshah, Kurdistan, Tehran, and West Azerbaijan.
To date, the Iranian authorities have failed to provide any information about the reasons for the arrests, but according to credible information gathered from informed sources, there are serious concerns that the arrests are due to the individuals’ peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of opinion, expression and association, including through involvement in peaceful civil society activism and/or perceived support for the political visions espoused by Kurdish opposition parties seeking respect for the human rights of Iran’s Kurdish minority.
Based on past patterns of documented human rights violations by the Iranian authorities, the undersigned organizations are seriously concerned that those detained are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment aimed at extracting forced “confessions”, and that these may be later used in grossly unfair trials for spurious national security related offences.
According to information gathered from informed sources, since 6 January 2021, at least 96 individuals (88 men and 8 women) from Iran’s Kurdish minority, including civil society activists, labour rights activists, environmentalists, writers, university students and formerly imprisoned political activists as well as individuals with no known history of activism, have been arrested by the intelligence unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or ministry of intelligence agents, at times in a violent manner.
The arrests have taken place in at least 19 cities in five provinces including: Karaj (2) in Alborz province; Javanrud (1), Kermanshah (2), and Paveh (4) in Kermanshah province;
Baneh (1), Divandarreh (1), Kalatarzan (3), Marivan (9), Sanandaj (4), Saqqez (3), and Saravabad (4) in Kurdistan province; Tehran (3) in Tehran province; Baneh (1); Bukan (23), Mahabad (10), Naqadeh (4), Oshnavieh (11), Piranshahr (7), Rabat (3), and Urumieh (1) in West Azerbaijan province.
According to informed sources, most of the arrests have been carried out without the authorities presenting an arrest warrant to those detained. In fact, the prosecution authorities of Mahabad and Urumieh, which is the centre of West Azerbaijan province and most of those arrested have been brought to the detention centres therein, have told detainees’ families that their offices have not issued arrest warrants for those detained by the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards, and they are not aware of their fate or whereabouts.
As of 2 February 2021, seven of those arrested had been released (in three cases on bail and in four cases unconditionally), but the rest remain in detention without access to their families and lawyers, and there are widespread fears that the wave of arbitrary arrests is continuing.
Incommunicado detention and enforced disappearances
According to information obtained from informed sources, of the 89 individuals who remain detained, at least 40 have are being subjected to enforced disappearance, and the authorities are refusing to reveal any information about their fate and whereabouts to their families.
The remaining 49 are held in the following locations: 25 in the detention centre of the ministry of intelligence in Urumieh, 13 in the detention centre of the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards in Urumieh, three in the detention centre of the ministry of intelligence in Mariwan, five in the detention centre of the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards in Sanandaj, two in the detention centre of the ministry of intelligence in Kermanshah, and one in the central prison in Mahabad.
The information concerning the whereabouts of these detainees emerged after some of them were allowed to make a brief phone calls to their families several hours or days after their arrests, informing them of their whereabouts. However, the authorities have refused to inform the detainees’ families of the reasons for their detention and have prohibited further communication between the detainees and their loved ones, including phone calls or family visitation. The detainees have been denied their rights to access legal counsel and to challenge the lawfulness of their detention, and the authorities have told their families that this situation will continue until the investigation process is completed.
These abusive detention conditions, which are in violation of both Iranian law and international human rights law, are placing the detainees at a serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment, which is practiced on a widespread and systematic basis in detention centers run by Iran’s security and intelligence bodies.
Revolutionary Guards and ministry of intelligence agents have subjected the families of detainees to threats and insults when they have sought information about their loved ones and warned them against speaking to the media or communicating with UN human rights bodies.
These abuses of due process render the latest arrests and detention, virtually in all cases, arbitrary and therefore unlawful.
Arbitrary arrests stemming from the peaceful exercise of human rights
According to information gathered, while a few of those arrested in the recent upsurge of repression are activists with a public profile and a prior record of involvement with environmental associations and cultural initiatives, the majority appear to be young men and women in their 20s who have pursued their nascent activism through informal circles focused on the civic and political empowerment of Iran’s Kurdish minority.
We are concerned that this crackdown on human rights and the intimidation, harassment and attacks against young Kurdish activists by the Iranian authorities is aimed at deterring them from engaging in community organizing and shaping a vision for their society.
We are further concerned by reports indicating that many individuals may have been targeted based on their perceived support for the political visions espoused by Kurdish opposition parties that are banned by the authorities in Iran.
Iranian authorities severely restrict or, in many cases, ban political opposition parties, especially those that represent ethnic minority communities such as Iranian Kurds. Some Kurdish opposition parties have separate armed wings based outside Iran, which engage in armed confrontation against government state authorities inside the country. The Iranian authorities routinely target individuals from Iran’s Kurdish minority for arbitrary arrest and detention simply based on their real or perceived support for or association with Kurdish opposition parties, and rarely provide sufficient evidence pointing to the direct or indirect involvement of the defendants in internationally recognizable offences.
We recall that the right to freedom of opinion and expression includes the right to be critical of the political social system espoused by the authorities and the right to peacefully advocate for any political ideas or visions so long as the idea spoused do not advocate hatred constituting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. Penalizing individuals because of the opinions they may hold is a serious violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party.
Appalling track record
For decades, ethnic minorities in Iran, including Kurds, Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis and Turkmen, have faced entrenched discrimination, curtailing their access to education, employment, adequate housing and political office. Continued under-investment in minority-populated regions exacerbated poverty and marginalization. Despite repeated calls for linguistic diversity, Persian remains the sole language of instruction in primary and secondary education.
According to Kurdish human rights groups, in 2020, over 500 people from Iran’s Kurdish minority, including human rights defenders, were arrested for politically motivated reasons and charged with broad and vaguely worded national security-related offences. At least 159 of them were subsequently sentenced to prison terms ranging from one month to 17 years and four received the death penalty. 1
1 The names of those sentenced to death in 2020 are Mohayyedin Tazehvared, Heidar Ghorbani, Saman Karimi and Shaker Behrouzi.
According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, “Kurdish political prisoners charged with national security offences … constitute a disproportionately high number of those who
We are gravely concerned that the failure to investigate, prosecute, and remove from positions of power those responsible for ordering, implementing and acquiescing to arbitrary arrests and detention, enforced disappearances, incommunicado detentions, torture and other ill-treatment in Iran has resulted in widespread and systematic patterns of human rights violations and crimes under international law, committed with absolute impunity.
We, the undersigned civil society and human rights organizations call on the international community to urgently raise the concerns documented above with the Iranian authorities and urge them to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily detained and end the campaign of arbitrary arrests of Kurdish people;
- Pending their release, protect all detainees from torture and other ill-treatment;
- Immediately inform families of the fate, whereabouts and legal status of their detained relatives in state custody and put an end to the practice of enforced disappearance;
- Ensure that individuals deprived of their liberty are granted their rights to notify a third person, access legal counsel, challenge the lawfulness of detention, and remain silent, and ensure that statements obtained in violation of the right to notification of rights are not admissible at trial;
- Carry out independent, impartial and transparent investigations into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials;
- End discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, in law and practice, and respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of everyone in the country; and
- Establish an official moratorium on all executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty .
2 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 18 July 2019, para. 87, available at: https://undocs.org/A/74/188
3 The victims included Mustafa Salimi (April), Hedayat Abdullahpour (May), Diaku Rasoulzadeh (Juy) and Saber Sheikh Abdollah (July).
received the death penalty and are executed”. In 2020, at least four individuals from Iran’s Kurdish minority were executed following grossly unfair trials related to their alleged involvement in armed opposition.3
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran
Ahwaz Human Rights Organization
All Human Rights for All in Iran
Association for the Human Rights of the Azerbaijani people in Iran (AHRAZ) Association of Humanitarian Lawyers
Balochistan Human Rights Group
Baluch Activists Campaign Organization
Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights
Centre for Human Rights in Iran
Centre for Supporters of Human Rights
Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM)
European Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation (EAHRO)
Gesellschft für bedrohte Völker
6Rang (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender network)
Hengaw Organization for Human Rights
Human Rights Watch
Iran Human Rights
Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
International Educational Development, Inc.
Iranian Kurdistan Women’s Centre
Justice for Iran
Kurdistan Human Rights-Geneva (KMMK-G) Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) Miaan Group
Minority Rights Group International OutRight Action International
Siamak Pourzand Foundation
Société pour les peuples menacés, Suisse
Turkmen Human Rights Activists
United for Iran
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) World Coalition Against the Death Penalty
Iran missile strike against Ukraine airliner
GENEVA (7 January 2021) – On the occasion of the first-year anniversary of the strike against Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Flight PS752, which killed all 176 persons on board, a UN human rights expert has called for urgent measures to protect civilian aircraft flying in conflict zones or areas of high military tensions.
“The downing of Flight PS752 sadly highlights the insufficiencies of the international conventions related to air safety, both in preventing military actions against civilian planes, and in ensuring proper investigations should they occur,” said Agnès Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
On 8 January 2020, 176 individuals lost their lives when their Ukraine International Airlines flight from Tehran to Kiev was struck by two Iranian missiles. The targeting of the Flight PS752 occurred in the context of heightened tensions between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States.
“This preventable tragedy requires urgent action from all stakeholders including States and airlines,” she said in a statement presenting a range of recommendations to strengthen the protection of the right to life of passengers on board civilian airlines.
Callamard said that in situations of military tensions, whether or not they are recognised as armed conflicts, the most effective means to prevent attacks on civil aviation is closing the airspace. All other options are secondary and may subject civil aircraft to risk. Yet, too often, States fail to do so for commercial or political reasons, she said.
“The international community must establish clear, explicit and unambiguous standards on when States should close airspace under their jurisdiction,” Callamard said. “If States are not acting responsibly to close the airspace under their jurisdiction, or restrict flights, then it is incumbent upon other States and airlines to take immediate action to restrict carriers from flying over or near a conflict zone.”
The expert also called on airlines to make their flight paths available to the public and to strengthen their capacity for risk assessment, including by following the highest standards and checking all information sources when planning flights routes.
“The many failings of the existing international system and institutions demonstrates the urgent need for a completely independent body (from both States and airlines) to monitor air safety in relation to conflicts, and to compile and disseminate information about risks to civil aviation related to flying over conflict zones,” Callamard said. “Such information should be made available to the public at large.
“Passengers and flight crew cannot be left at the mercy of States and airlines who put revenue and other motives ahead of safety. In a world of heightened military and political tensions, with a resurgence of conflicts and access to a multiplication of military grade weapons, the current international system responsible for civilian air safety is not fit for purpose. We must act now to prevent future incidents and save lives.”
The Special Rapporteur has written to the Iranian Government regarding the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752.
Read the full statement here
16 November 2020, 00:01 UTC
The Iranian authorities deliberately shut down the internet during nationwide protests in November 2019, hiding the true scale of unlawful killings by security forces, Amnesty International said today.
On the anniversary of the deadliest day of the protests, Amnesty International is launching a new microsite, A web of impunity: The killings Iran’s internet shutdown hid, documenting how the lethal crackdown that left at least 304 people dead was hidden from the world.
“When news of the deadly crackdown began to emerge from Iran last November, the world was shocked by the brutal violence of the security forces. The authorities deliberately blocked internet access inside Iran, hiding the true extent of the horrendous human rights violations that they were carrying out across the country,” said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“The government thought they could silence the population by taking the country offline, but the Iranian people were determined to tell the world the truth. Our new website is a tribute to the courage of everyone who captured on camera the scenes of violence that the authorities wanted to keep hidden.”
The microsite – a joint investigation between Amnesty International and The Hertie School, in partnership with the Internet Outage Detection and Analysis (IODA) project – features more than 100 verified videos from 31 cities, and reveals the repeated use of firearms, water cannons and tear gas by Iran’s security forces against unarmed protesters and bystanders.
To date, no one has been criminally investigated or held accountable for the killings. Amnesty International is again calling on member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council to mandate an inquiry into the unlawful killings to ensure those responsible for ordering, planning and carrying out the crimes are brought to justice in fair trials.
read the full report here
GENEVA (25 September 2020) – UN independent experts expressed alarm at human rights lawyer and woman human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh’s return to Evin Prison in Iran this week despite her deteriorating health condition, and called for her immediate release.
“It is unfathomable that the Iranian authorities would return Ms. Sotoudeh to prison where she is at heightened risk to COVID-19, as well as with her serious heart condition,” the experts said.
“We urge the authorities to immediately reverse this decision, accept her requests to recuperate at home before undergoing a heart procedure, and allow her to freely choose her own medical treatment,” they added.
As well as raising their deep concerns for her health, the experts stressed that Ms. Sotoudeh’s current detention is again allegedly arbitrary. In 2011, after previously being imprisoned, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found she had been arbitrarily deprived of her liberty and called for her immediate release. Ms. Sotoudeh’s current imprisonment comes after she was sentenced in March 2019 to a combined prison sentence of over 30 years and 148 lashes on seven charges. Iranian law requires that she serve 12 years, the harshest of her seven sentences.
“Ms. Sotoudeh is a recognised human rights lawyer who fearlessly defends the rights of Iranians despite constant State harassment for over a decade,” the experts said. “She continues to raise her voice to defend human rights despite being imprisoned and in poor health.”
“The evidence suggests Ms. Sotoudeh’s imprisonment, both now and in the past, is State retaliation for her tireless work defending human rights. She is one of many Iranian human rights lawyers who are currently imprisoned for defending fundamental freedoms. Her convictions and sentences, as well as those of all other lawyers arbitrarily detained in Iran, should immediately be quashed and her case reviewed consistent with fair trial standards,” the experts added.
On 23 September 2020, the Iranian authorities returned Ms. Sotoudeh to Evin Prison from Taleghani Hospital, where she was admitted on 19 September for a serious heart condition. While in hospital, she was under the surveillance of State security officials, who reportedly obstructed her treatment, blocked family contact and mistreated her. She is also in a weakened condition after refusing food for over 40 days in protest against poor hygiene measures in Iran’s prisons during COVID-19 and the authorities’ refusal to temporarily release detained human rights defenders, lawyers, political prisoners and prisoners of conscience under official COVID-19 directives.
The experts echoed Ms. Sotoudeh’s call for the Iranian authorities to grant temporary release to human rights defenders, lawyers, dual and foreign nationals, prisoners of conscience, political prisoners and all other individuals detained without sufficient legal basis during the COVID-19 pandemic.
* The UN experts: Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran; Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Ms. Leigh Toomey (Chair-Rapporteur), Ms. Elina Steinerte (Vice-Chair), Mr. José Guevara Bermúdez, Mr. Seong-Phil Hong, Mr. Sètondji Adjovi, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Elizabeth Broderick (Chair), Melissa Upreti (Vice Chair), Alda Facio, Meskerem Geset Techane, Ivana Radačić,Working Group on discrimination against women and girls; Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Dubravka Šimonovic, Special Rapporteur on violence against women; Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the rights to peaceful assembly and of association
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.