TITLE=IRAN / RIGHTS (L ONLY)
INTRO: A U-N special investigator says Iran is making
significant progress toward a more-fee society. Lisa
Schlein in Geneva reports the investigator told the U-
N Human Rights Commission he expects the changes in
Iran to accelerate during the next 12-months.
TEXT: U-N investigator Maurice Copithorne says the
trend to change in Iran is irreversible. He says the
big question is the speed at which reforms progress.
Mr. Copithorne says Iran is a society in significant
political turmoil. There is resistance to change from
hard-line elements in society, but he says this
resistance is a reflection of greater freedom of
expression in Iran.
/// COPITHORNE ACT ONE ///
In other words, it is the substantial freedom of
expression that now exists that, in a sense,
permits us to have a fairly good idea of
resistance to further change that still exist.
I believe that out of this new freedom of
expression, that a sense of accountability is
/// END ACT ///
Mr. Copithorne says the trend toward a freer, more
open society is having a positive impact on the human-
rights situation in Iran. But he also says serious
human-rights violations continue. He says he has
compiled many cases of torture, arbitrary arrests,
disappearances, and suspicious deaths.
He says significant progress is being made with regard
to the status of women in areas such as education,
training, and health, but he says women still suffer
from inequality and discrimination.
In his report, Mr. Copithorne discusses what he calls
intimidation and harassment of ethnic and religious
minorities. He says members of the Baha'i faith
continue to face prolonged imprisonment, confiscation
of holy places, and denial of the right to assemble.
The U-N investigator also says reform of Iran's legal
and judiciary system is absolutely critical.
/// COPITHORNE ACT TWO ///
There is also under the same general head of
reform of the legal system, the need to really
work on the elements of fair trial. I think
with some of the high profile cases in the past
six-months and still today, we are seeing what
amounts to a denial of a fair trial by any
X /// END ACT ///
Mr. Copithorne says there is only slow progress in
official investigations into several politically
charged violent incidents in the past 18-months. And
he says he expects human-rights violations to continue
while Iran struggles to become a society based on the
rule of law. (SIGNED)
30-Mar-2000 11:24 AM EDT (30-Mar-2000 1624 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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