US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Nikki Haley said on Sunday that the UN Human Rights Council should be “ashamed” for allowing Iranian Justice Minister, Seyyed Alireza Avaei to speak at the body this week.
“The Human Rights Council should be ashamed to allow Mr. Avaei to address its membership,” she said in a statement.
Haley said it was yet another demonstration of why the Trump administration continues pushing for reforms in the UN Human Rights Council.
“Yet again the Council discredits itself by allowing serial human rights abusers to hijack its work and make a mockery of its mandate to promote universal human rights,” she continued.
“This does nothing but reinforce the United States’ call for much needed reforms at the Council for it to be viewed as a good investment of our time and money.”
The Iranian Justice Minister will be speaking at the council’s headquarters in Geneva despite being sanctioned by the European Union (EU) and Switzerland “for human rights violations, arbitrary arrests, denials of prisoners’ rights, and an increase in executions” as a chief prosecutor in the Islamic Republic.
A Swiss spokesperson noted that while the EU sanctions bar Avaei from traveling throughout member states, Switzerland, which is not an EU member, has only imposed financial penalties.
“Against this background, Mr. Avaie would be allowed to travel to Switzerland to participate in a UN conference without restrictions,” Isabel Herkommer, an economic affairs ministry spokeswoman, told AFP.
According to a UN spokesperson, Avaie was only given a slot to speak after Tehran put in a request.
“We do not invite states to speak, however we do encourage wide participation from states to hear their views,” Rolando Gomez explained to AFP.
Members of Iranian opposition groups in exile have expressed their utter displeasure with Avaei addressing the council.
“Allowing Avaie to address the Human Rights Council is disgraceful and would make a mockery of the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms,” said Shahin Gobadi, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, according to AFP.
Gobadi also told AFP that Avaei “bears responsibility for the brutal suppression of recent protests” in Iran.
“This must not happen,” Gobadi reiterated.