Nazanin photo

Multilateral Action on Arbitrary Detention Offers Hope for Nazanin and others detained in Iran 

35 countries have delivered a Joint Statement on Arbitrary Detention to the UN Human Rights Councildenouncing the increasing instances of human rights being violated to achieve political ends. The statement calls on states to uphold their international human rights obligations unconditionally, including those owed to foreign and dual nationals in their jurisdiction. 

REDRESS engaged representatives from key states on the issue of arbitrary detention of foreign and dual nationals in the lead up to the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, which began on 14 September 2020. REDRESS outlined the deterioration in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national currently imprisoned in Iran, and the illegality of her detention under international law. REDRESS requested that state representatives raise the matter before the Council.  

The Joint Statement delivered by the 35 countries assertsWe are deeply disturbed by politically motivated arbitrary arrest, detention and sentencing of foreign nationals.  The right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention is guaranteed in international law.”  

The statement was made in the context of increased multi-lateral cooperation on Iran’s practice of arbitrary detention, particularly of foreign and dual nationals, whom Iran uses for diplomatic leverage.  

Last week, France, Germany and the UK summoned their Iranian ambassadors in a coordinated diplomatic protestasserting that Iran’s policy of arbitrary detention and ill treatment of prisoners is seriously undermining its international standing. This followed recommendations made by REDRESS for increased coordination, including in evidence submitted to the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee. 

Leanna Burnard, Legal Officer at REDRESS, stated: REDRESS has long called for the UK government to collaborate with other states to address Iran’s systematic arbitrary detention of foreign and dual nationals, and we welcome the recent developments. Consistent, coordinated action among states is critical to ensuring that Nazanin and others come safely home, and that others will not be taken. States must make it clear that Iran’s practice of arbitrary detention will not be tolerated.” 

For more information or for an interview, please contact Eva Sanchis, REDRESS’ Head of Communications, on 07857110076 or [email protected].

Notes to Editors

About REDRESS: REDRESS is an international human rights organisation based in London and The Hague that represents victims of torture in obtaining justice and reparations. REDRESS has acted as legal representatives for Nazanin and campaigned for her release since 2016. It has taken her case to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and successfully lobbied for the UK Government to grant Nazanin diplomatic protection. REDRESS continues to work to secure Nazanin’s release.

Legal team: REDRESS’s work on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case is supported pro bono by Prof John Dugard SC (Doughty Street Chambers), Alison Macdonald QC (Essex Court Chambers) and Dr Tatyana Eatwell (Doughty Street Chambers).