DECLARATION BY THE PRESIDENCY ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ON HUMAN RIGHTS CASES IN IRAN
May 25, 2007: The European Union is deeply concerned by recent developments in the human rights situation in Iran. The EU is particularly troubled by the recent wave of arrests of civil society and womenâs rights activists. Teachers, students, union members, scholars and journalists exercising their right to freely express their opinion are facing constant intimidation, and stricter dress codes for men and women are being imposed by force. It has been noted with concern that at least three offices of non-governmental organisations were recently closed. The EU also wishes to draw attention to the worsening of the situation of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, in particular to the plight of the Bahaâi, who are excluded from public life, discriminated against and harassed.
The EU expresses its concern about continued executions in Iran and urges the Iranian Government to actively respect and protect the fundamental human rights of its citizens by completely abolishing, in particular, the juvenile death penalty, amputations and other cruel punishments, such as stoning. It calls on Iran to uphold its moratoria on these practices and, as a matter of urgency, to introduce them into law, as recommended by the last UN General Assembly resolution on human rights in Iran.
In particular, the EU deplores the execution of Mohammad Moussavi on 22 April 2007 in Shiraz, Iran, despite the fact that he was only 16 at the time of his crime. The EU had previously raised his case on two occasions with the Iranian authorities, including in 2005, when the Iranian authorities told us that the Chief of the Judiciary would intervene to stop any juvenile executions which came to his attention. The EU recalls its long-held position that the death sentence may not, in any circumstances, be imposed on persons who were below the age of 18 when their crime was committed.
This execution is a direct contravention of Iran's freely undertaken obligations under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is also a breach of the moratorium on the execution of juvenile offenders that the Iranian Government announced in 2005 and which it assures the EU is still in place. The EU urges the Iranian Government to implement the moratorium fully and to consider alternative sentences for the juvenile offenders remaining on death row in Iran.
The EU also expresses its deep concern that two amputation sentences were carried out against thieves in Kermanshah, Western Iran on 27 February and 13 May 2007. These sentences contravene the commitment that Iran made to the EU in March 2003 to implement a moratorium on amputations. The EU calls on the Iranian Government to take action to ensure that no amputation sentences are handed down by judges or carried out in future. (Sources: The Council of the European Union, 25/05/2007)