A statement by Iran Roundtable, a coalition of human rights defenders, on UN Special Rapporteur's statement
The report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, was presented to the UN General Assembly in October 22, 2013.
- Gross domestic product reportedly contracted by an estimated 3 per cent in 2012 and is predicted to further contract by approximately 1.2 per cent in the coming year. Staggering inflation, estimated to have peaked at 30 per cent in 2012/13 and forecast to hover above 20 per cent for the next three years, has had a dramatic effect on the standard of living. Furthermore, Government cuts made in December 2010 to subsidies for social welfare programmes, which contribute to low prices of imported foodstuffs and medications, have reportedly contributed to raising the costs of basic commodities, such as cooking oil, fruit, vegetables, meat and nuts.
- They also stress that the supply of advanced medicines, which treat the most serious illnesses, are particularly affected. In this regard, a number of reports indicate that shortages of drugs for the treatment of such diseases as cancer, heart disease, thalassemia, HIV/AIDS, haemophilia and multiple sclerosis, as well as shortages in the materials necessary to repair and maintain medical equipment, are having a profoundly worrisome impact on access to life-saving medical measures in the country. According to the report, a former Iranian Health Minister is reported to have maintained that of the $2.5 billion earmarked for foreign exchange necessary to meet the import needs of the medical sector in 2012, only $650 million was provided, intimating that the funds were misallocated.
- In its response to the request of the Special Rapporteur for its observations on the impact of sanctions on human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United Nations Children’s Fund office in the country highlighted much of the aforementioned concerns and pointed to local newspaper reports that mention the increasing number of homeless working children and elderly persons and the rise in the phenomenon of “street women”.
Iran Roundtable also calls upon the IRI authorities to reconsider their longstanding defiance with the international community by reversing their harmful and unnecessary disputed nuclear program. This approach will not only relieve Iranians from the dreadful effects of sanctions, as well illustrated in the Special Rapporteur’s report, but also, if coupled with improved human rights conditions and freedom for all Iranians inside the country will, no doubt, make Iran an effective, strong and responsible member of the international community.