Sunday, July 16, 2006
IGLHRC's Five UN Complaints on Iran's Gay Hangings
Ms. Paula Ettelbrick
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
New York, NY
In preparation for San Francisco's July 19 demonstration about Iran hanging two gay teenagers last year, I looked over some of your group's work on gays in Iran, including a column you wrote for Gay City News and a story that ran on a UN news feed service last fall.
Excerpts from your column show in October you submitted complaints and documents to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and with the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Nine months later, I wonder what responses you may have received from these four UN agencies. Have the four agencies taken any action? If they have, are you satisfied with the UN's reports or actions, or lack thereof, on the hanging of the two gay teens last year?
Furthermore, in your quotes in November to the IRIN News Service, you say you again approached the UN with demands on the world body to investigate new reports from Iran about more hangings of homosexuals.
I would like to know how the UN responded to your demands. Hopefully investigators were sent to Iran and examined the charges and circumstances of the executions carried out against homosexuals.
Based on your column and the UN news feed, it appears you have at least five complaints and demands for investigations about the executions and over all mistreatment of Iranians homosexuals, complaints filed months ago.
Also, the news feed says IGLHRC is following up on claims of ninety-two hangings and death sentences in the early fall. What has your follow up work shown?
As I prepare remarks for my speech at Harvey Milk Plaza in three days, I realize I'd like to say something positive about IGLHRC's work at the UN on behalf of gay Iranians, and a status report from you on your five complaints would be most helpful.
Gay City News
October 06 - 12, 2005
Working in Coalition
By Paula Ettelbrick
[...] IGLHRC immediately reported the cases in Iran to key human rights experts employed by the United Nations. The job of these U.N. experts is to investigate the cases and demand that Iran’s government be made to answer for its clear violation of human rights laws. We took this step as we often work as a bridge between activist groups and the U.N. system that is supposed to be ensuring that countries adhere to human rights treaties that they sign.
We have raised the situation in Iran with the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions so that he can build a case at the U.N. level. We have also raised the cases with the assistant to the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, given his interest in pursuing sodomy cases, as in and of themselves they constitute arbitrary detention. We are instituting communications with the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and with the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture. [...]
IRAN: Rights groups call on UN to investigate executions based on sexual orientation
U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
November 30, 2005
Human rights groups fighting for gay rights have called on the United Nations to act on reports of executions based on sexual orientation in Iran. [...]
In November the US-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLRHC) cited new reports from Iran that two young men who had been hanged in public in the northern city of Gorgan may have been executed because of their sexual orientation, prompting the IGLRC to call on UN human rights experts to investigate such cases, while demanding government accountability for any violation of human rights.
But according to Kahramananoglu, getting reliable information out of the country has proven difficult, while the IGLHRC is following up on information circulating that 92 hangings and death sentences had taken place in Iran within the past four and a half months alone, a 16 November statement by the group said.
“We are alarmed at these latest hangings and call for an immediate investigation by the UN and national human rights monitors,” stated Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of IGLHRC. “It’s clear that a pattern is emerging in which young men are executed as couples and that the crimes they allegedly committed always involve some form of sexual assault of another male.”
Public executions, in and of themselves, are considered to be cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law and the IGLHRC has long documented specific conditions in Iran involving clear violations of human rights law, the statement read. [...]
“When the first reported executions came to our attention in July, it was nearly impossible to determine whether the two men were executed because of their sexual orientation,” continued Ettelbrick. “But this pattern that we have identified, along with the extraordinary increase of public death sentences being carried out under this new government, requires a response not just from the global LGBT community but from all human rights advocates.” [...]