Iran Had World’s Second Worst Human Rights Record in 2020, UN Watch Says

Kayhan London./

By Kayhan Life Staff

Iran had the world’s second worst human rights record in 2020, after China, a recent report by United Nations Watch said.

Cameroun, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Turkey, North Korea, and Russia were next in the ranking drawn up by UN Watch, a non-governmental organization based in Geneva “whose mandate is to monitor the United Nations’ performance by the yardstick of its Charter.”

UN Watch was established in 1993 by the civil rights activist Morris B. Abram, the former U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva. The organization has links to the UN as an accredited NGO with Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as an Associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).

In a series of tweets on Dec. 29, UN Watch cited examples of human rights abuses in each country.

Reporting on Iran’s human rights record, UN Watch said: “[Iran] Executed wrestler Navid Afkari and journalist Ruhollah Zam for criticizing the regime, funded Syrian mass murder and Hezbollah terror, arrested women for not covering their hair, bombed passenger jet killing 176 passengers, covered it up, massacred peaceful protesters.”

The tweet included a picture of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It highlighted the “unintentional” downing of the Ukrainian commercial Flight PS752, which was shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport in January 2019, killing all 176 people on board. Iranian authorities initially denied that a missile had hit the plane, insisting that technical faults had caused the crash. They eventually admitted that Fight PS752 was downed because of a “human error.”

The tweet also highlighted the execution of Navid Afkari, a 27-year-old Iranian champion wrestler in Shiraz, who was hanged hurriedly and secretly on Sept. 12, without prior notice to him, his family, or his lawyer. He was charged with murdering a security guard at the Shiraz Water and Wastewater Management Company during the nationwide protests of 2018.

Elsewhere, the tweet mentioned the execution of Iranian opposition journalist Ruhollah Zam on Dec. 12. Mr. Zam operated a Telegram channel named Amad News, a popular anti-government website that the Islamic Republic accused of inciting the 2017-18 protests. Iranian agents had reportedly kidnapped Zam in Baghdad in 2019. A year later, he was charged with “corruption on earth” and sentenced to death.

A separate tweet on human rights abuses in China said: “[China] herded 1 million Uighurs into camps, jailed human rights activists, crushed Tibet, silenced courageous men and women who sounded the alarm on the coronavirus—like Dr. Li Wenliang and citizen journalist Zhang Zhan—and suffocated freedom in Hong Kong.”

The tweet included a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

On North Korea, UN Watch said: “[North Korea] Killed a fishing captain for listening to international radio at sea, ignored hunger crisis that has caused millions to starve, detained 100,000 in camps where they are subject to forced labor and summary executions, forced children to attend public executions.” It included a photograph of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“[Russia] poisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, held 362 political prisoners, tortured detainees, persecuted 300 Jehovah’s Witnesses, bombed schools, hospitals, and markets in Syria, backed Belarus tyrant Lukashenko,” another tweet which accompanied a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Iran is also the country that has carried out the world’s second-highest number of executions after China.

This article was translated and adapted from Persian by Fardine Hamidi.