Responsibilities of the Islamic Republic's Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council was established in 2001 as part of the international department of Judiciary. The code of regulations was later completed in 2005. The Human Rights High Council’s Duties as approved by the National Security High Council Directive are as below.
About the Human Rights High Council
A decade ago, organized and logically cohesive human rights activities began in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Human Rights High Council was established in order to address the needs of society and to explain and clarify human rights issues, as well as to legally protect people and citizens’ rights both inside Iran and before international organizations.
The new round of the High Council’s activities began in 2005: more qualified members were added, the number of relevant bodies and organs that are somehow involved and in touch with human rights issues increased, and the new organization began work with representatives from the Judiciary, the Executive, and the Legislative branches on board.
The establishment of the Human Rights High Council was proposed by the honorable then-Head of the Judiciary, upon being discussed and studied by the National Security High Council and the approval by the Highest Leader of the Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, began its functions.
In accordance with the National Security High Council’s directive, among the Human Rights High Council’s most important functions are: To concentrate the Islamic Republic’s activities regarding human rights issues in one place; to make optimal use of facilities; and to implement relevant decisions with more precise. In the new organization, emphasis is placed on the High Council being the country’s national and official authority in all human rights related issues, as well as on the necessity of contact and coordination between all relevant organs with the High Council.
Doctor Mohammad Javad Larijani was assigned the task of running the High Council and establishing its secretariat. Human Rights High Council’s Code of Regulations is drawn from the National Security High Council’s Directive 435 and is based on Principle 156 of the Constitution which provides: “The judiciary is the protector of individual and social rights and is responsible for the implementation of justice, and is also responsible for restoring public rights and promoting justice and legitimate freedoms.”
The Islamic Republic’s human rights activities will therefore have an aspect based on being on the offensive on various levels, including explication and justification of Islamic human rights’ genuine and authoritative stance, and another aspect predicated upon defending the Islamic Republic’s progressive laws and their general manner of implementation. All of this will be highlighted in the Human Rights High Council’s correspondence with international bodies and through the presence of the High Council’s members at there. These activities will open a new chapter in stating and explaining the Islamic Republic of Iran’s righteous stance.
Background of the Human Rights High Council’s Activities
It has been a decade since the start of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s cohesive human rights activities. These activities began in 2002 upon passage of the Human Rights High Council’s Code of Regulations and publication thereof in the Official Newspaper [of the Islamic Republic of Iran]. In 2005, Human Rights High Council completed the Code through implementation of qualitative and quantitative improvements. In line with the activities of the newly created Human Rights Council in Geneva and the use of new mechanisms by that Council, the Human Rights High Council, in making said improvements, took on new actions and became a national authority as well as the coordinator and policy maker for human rights issues. In this regard, in Principles 19 through 42 of the Constitution, follow-up of rules regarding the rights of the people is put forth, providing the general fundamental human rights frameworks.
The Human Rights High Council’s Duties as Prescribed by the National Security High Council Directive
The importance of the National Security High Council’s Directive 435 stems from the fact that, with the establishment of the newly minted Human Rights Council in Geneva in 2005, the Human Rights High Council [was charged with making] qualitative and quantitative improvements in the Islamic Republic’s human rights activities in various areas, which led to the High Council initiating extensive activities. The general structure and duties of the Human Rights High Council are as follows:
- Fundamental duties:
The Council’s duties and responsibilities are planning, directing, and following up on all affairs related to the Human Rights High Council, nationally and internationally, with the cooperation of and in coordination with relevant organs. The Council is obligated to present a monthly report of its activities to the National Security High Council’s Secretariat.
- Principal members of the High Council
In order to concentrate the Islamic Republic’s human rights activities in one organ, make optimal use of facilities, and implement decisions with better precision, the Human Rights High Council is established in accordance with the structure below, and all relevant organs must cooperate and coordinate their activities with this Council. The principal members of the Council, which shall be headed by the Head of the Judiciary Branch, are as follows:
The Human Rights High Council’s Secretary; the country’s Prosecutor General; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; the Minister of the Interior; the Minister of Justice; the Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Information Minister; the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance; the Head of the State General Inspection Organization; the Head of the State Prisons and Security and Reformatory Actions Organization; the person in charge of the National Security High Council Secretariat’s Legal Committee; the National Security High Council Secretariat’s Deputy for International Security; Head of the Police Force; two experienced judges or legal scholars.
The Human Rights High Council’s Duties within the International System, Analysis of Human Rights Challenges and What Lies Ahead
In today’s world, the subject of human rights has become a major component when various international actions are taken. In spite of their cultural and humanist nature, human rights have been dragged into politics and have become a means for Western countries to exert pressure [on other countries] in order to advance their hegemonic and expansionist objectives. It must be noted that human rights texts, drafted in the West, are imposed on other peoples through various means. This all-out attack is based on the secular nature of [these rights] and goes so far as to deny other peoples of the world their individual and social freedoms, whereas the proud peoples of the world, relying on their native and regional values, and relying on cultural diversity, combat this Western mechanism, a mechanism that has turned human rights into a means of exerting pressure [on the peoples of the world] in order to prepare them to accept the new hegemony. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Middle East’s greatest democratic nation, would be the object of relentless attacks and branded a human rights violator, while in many countries in the region, people do not even have a minimum of social and political freedoms. This is such an important issue for the West that even with the resolution of conflicts regarding Iran’s use of peaceful nuclear energy, they continue to insist on attacking Iran based on human rights issues, lest these issues become secondary in the West.
In any event, social development of societies completely depends on the level of its members’ awareness of their rights and the mechanisms for the protection of those rights. As a political system based on Islamic rationality, therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to face Western human rights challenges through innovative and novel action. The Human Rights High Council’s strategy is one based in interaction [and dialogue], but at the same time, it is ready to reciprocate aggressively, commensurate with their attacks.
- Raising the Islamic Republic of Iran’s human rights issues before international institutions
- The United Nations
- The Human Rights Council
- Responding to other countries’ stances and declarations (mainly Western countries)
- Explaining Islam’s position on human rights issues
- Playing a “pivotal” role in raising human rights issues
- Human Rights High Council’s activities as set forth in the organizational chart
The Human Rights High Council’s international activities
- Bilateral human rights cooperation
a) Familiarizing other countries with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s legal and judicial system
b) Familiarizing other countries with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s actions as regards promoting human rights discussions
c) Becoming familiar with the activities of the other party to the discussions regarding human rights and follow-up mechanisms for human rights-related issues
d) Bringing together the human rights stances of various nations in international institutions and organizations, especially in areas that require a vote.
- Multilateral human rights cooperation
a) Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), given the establishment of a Human Rights Committee in that Organization
b) The Non Aligned Movement (NAM)
c) Utilizing legislative mechanisms in Europe (Council of Europe and the European Parliament)
- Cooperation with the Human Rights Council, Geneva
- Activities related to the General Assembly and the United Nations Third Committee
Prioritizing the Country’s Human Rights Activities
- Cooperation with domestic and foreign non-governmental organizations active in the area of human rights
- Serious and close interaction with the Human Rights Council’s mechanisms including periodic international oversight and providing responses to Procedure1503 and to the Office of the High Commissioner
- Cooperation with domestic and foreign educational and research centers and institutions
- Coordination with all domestic governmental organs and institutions