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Iran secures chair of technology forum at UN Human Rights Council

The council is blasted by watchdogs for the appointment, months after Tehran was stripped of role on a separate U.N. commission.

Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Ali Bahreini, March 20, 2023. Source: Twitter/U.N. Human Rights Council.
Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Ali Bahreini, March 20, 2023. Source: Twitter/U.N. Human Rights Council.

In the same week that Iran hanged two men for their activity on social media, the U.N. Human Rights Council appointed Tehran as chair of a forum focused on using technology to promote human rights.

The appointment of Iran’s  Ambassador to the United Nations Ali Bahreini to the chair of the U.N. Human Rights Council 2023 Social Forum has sparked much anger and indignation.

The Czech Republic’s Vaclav Balek, president of the Human Rights Council, announced this week the appointment of Bahreini to the chair of the council’s 2023 Social Forum Bahraini, to be held in Geneva in early November. The forum is purported to highlight the contributions of science, technology and innovation to the promotion of human rights, including in the context of post-pandemic recovery.

Iran was nominated by regional coordinators, according to Balek.

The announcement came only days after Iran executed two men for participating in a social media discourse titled “Critique of Superstition and Religion.”

Yousef Mehrad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare were executed on May 8 at central Iran’s Arak Prison for the crime of blasphemy.

A U.N. committee dealing with social and humanitarian affairs expressed concern last November at Iran’s high frequency of executions, overwhelmingly passing a resolution to that effect.

Tehran was also booted in December out of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women due to the regime’s violent crackdown on protesters, sparked by the death of a 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last year at the hands of Iran’s “morality police,” who claim that she was improperly wearing her hijab.

The executive director of the UN Watch NGO called Bahreini’s appointment “shameful” and “an insult to the tens of thousands of victims beaten, brutalized, tortured, raped and murdered by this regime.”

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