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Resources updated between Monday, April 21, 2014 and Thursday, April 24, 2014
April 24, 2014
UN Committee Takes No Action on Iran Envoy Dispute
On April 22, 2014 the UN Committee on Relations with the Host Country held a closed-door meeting to discuss the United States' refusal to grant a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran's candidate for its next UN ambassador.
The Committee is currently composed of the following member states: Bulgaria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, France, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Russian Federation, Senegal, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.
The meeting was convened at the request of Iran after the United States announced on April 11, 2014 that it would not issue Aboutalebi a visa in order to take up the post, "over concerns about his involvement" in the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis.
At the meeting, Iranian ambassador Gholamhossein Dehghani praised Aboutalebi as "a seasoned and well-known carrier diplomat, who already served in three Ambassadorial postings." He also urged the Committee to deal with the U.S. visa denial "in an extraordinary way."
ABC News reports that North Korea, Cuba and Belarus spoke "in support" of Iran while no country spoke in support of the U.S. position. Fox News reports that Cuba used the opportunity "to criticize the United States for its handling of the situation".
After the meeting the Chair of the Committee, Ambassador of Cyprus Nicholas Emiliou, told reporters that "the issue remains on the committee's agenda" and that they "will revert to it if necessary." No information was provided as to what the Committee, or the General Assembly to which it reports, plans to do next.
April 23, 2014
"Dozens of inmates held in Evin's ward 350, including journalists, lawyers and opposition members, were injured, with some suffering skull fractures, broken ribs, wounds and swelling on their bodies after guards and intelligence officials created a tunnel and made prisoners run through it as they beat them with batons, according to opposition sources.
Emad Bahavar, who is serving a 10-year sentence because of his political activities, recounted some of the horrific moments in a letter sent out of jail and published on an opposition website, Kaleme, on Tuesday.
In separate interviews, a group of relatives who met a number of prisoners beaten up in Evin's violence last week echoed Bahavar, saying some could hardly speak and others had bruises on their bodies. The incident has been described by activists as Iran's 'black Thursday'.
'Beat them up,' they shouted. Forty guards armed with batons then rushed down the stairs ... they sent more guards as it went on,' Bahavar wrote in his letter. 'They made us stand in a row facing the wall in ward 350's corridors while being handcuffed and blindfolded. They started to beat us up from behind. You could hear a whining noise. Outside the ward's gate, the guards stood liked a tunnel and forced us to go through it before taking us on to a minibus. You could see blood on the way and inside the minibus.' The head of Iran's state prisons, Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili, has denied clashes occurred in Evin, describing the reports as propaganda against the Islamic republic... Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, has been silent despite chilling details being revealed by prisoners and their families about how Thursday's disturbances marked a dark episode in one of the country's most notorious prisons."
"The Qatari authorities are failing to protect migrant domestic workers who face severe exploitation, including forced labour and physical and sexual violence, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.
'My sleep is my break': Exploitation of domestic workers in Qatar paints a bleak picture of women who have been recruited to work in Qatar on the basis of false promises about salaries and working conditions, only to be made to work extreme hours and seven-day weeks. Some women described how they were subjected to appalling episodes of sexual and physical violence...
Researchers heard shocking testimonies of violent abuse, including women who reported being slapped, pulled by the hair, poked in the eyes, and kicked down the stairs by their employers. Three women reported that they had been raped.
Women who have been physically or sexually abused face major obstacles to getting justice. None of the women researchers spoke to had seen their attackers prosecuted or convicted. In one horrific case, a domestic worker broke both her legs and fractured her spine when she fell from a window as she tried to escape a rape attack by her employer. Her attacker then proceeded to sexually assault her as she lay on the ground, injured and unable to move. Only afterwards did he call an ambulance."
Iran is insisting that the United States accept its decision to appoint a former terrorist as its representative to the United Nations. The UN convened a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to address Tehran's objection to Washington's refusal to grant a visa to would-be ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi. President Barack Obama signed into law last week a bill initiated by Senator Cruz preventing countries from appointing terrorists as their U.N. ambassadors. "Iran is persisting in attempts to somehow ram through a terrorist as its U.N. ambassador," U.N. expert and human rights activist Anne Bayefsky told theWashington Free Beacon. "It makes sense for Iran, the lead state-sponsor of terrorism. It may even make sense for the U.N., which to this day has no definition of terrorism because of the chokehold of Islamic states on the organization." Bayefsky also recommended that Congress take "the next step-taking a much closer look at the many NGOs that the U.N. accredits and for which it generates passes, and that encourage terrorism and violence against the United States and its allies." The UN Committee on Relations with the Host Country can make recommendations to the General Assembly, which in turn can adopt decisions asking Washington to change course. US law will, however, continue to govern and cannot be overturned by the General Assembly, even if Tehran manages to garner sufficient support in the GA.
April 21, 2014
"An Iranian rape victim is set to be hanged unless she agrees to apologize to her attacker's family for making the claim of sexual assault.
Interior designer Reyhaneh Jabbari killed Moreteza Abdolai Sarbandi after he lured her to a flat on the pretense of work, but then attacked her.
Sarbandi, an Iranian intelligence agent, had apparently offered to hire Jabbari to redesign his office and took her to an apartment where he abused her...
She was convicted of his murder at a subsequent trial after confessing, which many claim was extracted under intense pressure, and sentenced to hanging.
But Sarbandi's family claims she is lying about her version of events...
Sarbandi's son, Jalal, has demanded she change her version of events if she wants to live.
'Only when her true intentions are exposed and she tells the truth about her accomplice and what really went down will we be prepared to grant mercy,' he was reported as saying by The Telegraph."
Escaping human trafficking
"Three women share their heartbreaking stories of escaping North Korea and how they ended up in Canada and the U.K...
Jang was born and raised in more rural environs, in a small city in North Korea near the Tumen River, which borders China...
It was now the mid-1990s and the country was in the middle of a famine caused by weather abnormalities and mismanagement of the state's food distribution networks. From 1993 to 1997, the worst years for the famine, between 600,000 and a million people died, according to the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea...
Like many North Koreans who lived in the border regions and were desperate for food, Jang started entering China illegally to trade petty goods, including her own clothes, in exchange for food. Contraband businesses began popping up along the border as well as trafficking operations that sold North Korean women into marriages with Chinese men...These marriages, however, were (and still are) illegal. China does not recognize North Koreans as bona-fide refugees; rather, it considers them illegal migrant workers and deports any caught within its borders."
Escaping human trafficking Document