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BBC to appeal to United Nations over Iran's violations

13 March, 2018, 13:40 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • A pedestrian walks past a BBC logo at Broadcasting House in central London

The BBC said it is appealing to the United Nations in Geneva to protect the human rights of its journalists and their families as Iranian authorities escalate "years of persecution and harassment".

"The BBC is taking the unprecedented step of appealing to the United Nations because our own attempts to persuade the Iranian authorities to end their harassment have been completely ignored", Hall said as quoted by the broadcaster on Monday. "In truth, this story is much wider: it is a story about fundamental human rights".

"In a country with severe limitations on media independence, these measures also constitute an attack on the public's right to freedom of expression", they added.

"In fact, during the past nine years, the collective punishment of BBC Persian Service journalists and their families has worsened".

"The UN has repeatedly criticized the Iranian authorities' campaign of intimidation against BBC Persian, and still it continues", said Ghaemi.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the Iranian judiciary's Human Rights Committee, dismissed allegations against Iran by both the United Nations and others as "racist" and "dictated in Washington, France and London and other places".

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"The longer the worldwide community is silent on Iran's human rights abuses, the more emboldened and powerful rights violators inside the country become" said Ghaemi.

In August 2017, the broadcaster said that Iran had frozen the assets of 152 current and former employees and contributors of BBC Persian, which had been largely banned in the country since 2009, and accused them of "conspiracy against national security". Reports say the injunction is linked to a criminal investigation into alleged conspiracy to commit crimes against national security in Iran and overseas.

Jeremy Dear, deputy general secretary of the IFJ, said the worldwide community must act now: "For many years Iranian journalists have suffered; been forced into hiding, fled into exile, been arrested, jailed and subjected to routine harassment, violence and intimidation".

"Threatening journalists and their families is nothing short of thuggery and the worldwide community should condemn it as such", he added.

Lawyers for the BBC World Service in October filed an urgent appeal to UN Special Rapporteurs David Kaye and Asma Jahangir on behalf of its Persian Service staff.

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