A group of UN independent human rights experts on Tuesday urged Iran to end the recent crackdown on journalists [press release] and to release those who have been already been detained. The group includes the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on arbitrary detention, the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on Iran [official websites]. The group called the recent arrests of journalists a "flagrant violation of Iran's obligations under international human rights law." While Iran claims that those detained were collaborating with "anti-revolutionary" entities [UN News Centre report], the UN group is concerned that the crackdown will reinforce self-censorship at a crucial moment for Iran as the 2013 presidential election approaches.
Iran's record on human rights over the past several years has been under international scrutiny. Last month UN rights experts urged [JURIST report] Iran not to execute Ahwazi activists. In October the UN Special Rapporteur for Iran accused the Iranian government of torturing human rights activists [JURIST report]. That same month the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] urged Iran to stop all executions [JURIST report] because the government had failed to comply with fair trial and due process guarantees. In June three UN Special Rapporteurs condemned [JURIST report] for executing four members of the Ahwazi Arab minority without providing them with fair trials.