Following a campaign by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and other human rights supporters, the Islamic Republic of Iran has withdrawn its candidacy to join the United Nations Human Rights Council. Iran’s appalling human rights record had generated global opposition to its bid to join the world’s leading human rights body. Reuters reported that, “One Western diplomat said Tehran had pulled out after it became apparent it might not secure enough votes to win a seat, which would have embarrassed Iran”.
Sonja Eggerickx, IHEU president, welcomed Iran’s withdrawal: “We are delighted that pressure from human rights defenders thwarted Iran’s campaign to win election to the Human Rights Council. Electing one of the world’s worst human rights abusers to a position responsible for defending our fundamental rights would be like electing the fox to guard the chicken coop. It would damage the credibility of the entire United Nations and dash the hopes of millions of people yearning for the freedom and respect guaranteed by international human rights law.”
Iran was one of five candidates for four “Asian seats” on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The Council, made up of 47 member states, is the highest UN body responsible for monitoring human rights throughout the world. It was created in 2006 to replace the UN’s discredited Commission for Human Rights.