The British Committee for Iran Freedom is dismayed by the regime in Iran being allowed to chair the 2023 Social Forum of the Human Rights Council due to take place on 2 and 3 November at the UN Headquarters in Geneva and online.

Iran’s chairmanship is an insult to the victims of its state terrorism as well as to the brave Iranian people who are continuing to protest for real democratic change and fundamental rights and freedoms in face of a brutal and thoughtless regime. It is also a serious blow to the reputation of the United Nations as a force for human rights and peace.

The mere fact that the UN Human Rights Council last year established a fact-finding mission to investigate and report on the regime’s human rights violations in connection to its violent crackdown on the popular protests going on in the country should have excluded Iran from such consideration.

Iran’s record under this totalitarian regime speaks for itself. World’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, record number of executions per capita and one of the biggest prisons for women, youth, activists and journalists.

The regime in Iran is no partner for peace, stability and friendship as evident by the destruction, death, misery and chaos it has brought to Iran, the Middle East and the world for the last four decades.

The regime is neither willing nor capable of promoting human rights. It uses technology and innovations to increase the capabilities of its repressive state security organs including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) to further suppress the Iranian people.

The regime is the only impediment to the youth, women and people of Iran living up to their potential and enjoying their rights and freedoms as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We call upon the UK Government to unequivocally condemn and criticise Iran’s chairmanship.

We urge our UN Ambassador Mr Simon Manley and other representatives of the UK Mission in Geneva to not attend the meeting chaired by Iran.

The UK Government should now lead a coalition of allies and other member states in boycotting the event, as the UK did last year when it secured the votes to remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The international community has clearly failed the Iranian people by allowing their oppressors to chair the 2023 Social Forum. It must urgently rectify this failure by recognising the Iranian people’s fight to realise their democratic aspirations and to enjoy their freedoms and rights as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

2 November 2023