Iran Human Rights: The Regional Context and Constructive Criticism

May 11, 2016 - 2:30 pm

1030 15th Street NW, Floor 12
Washington, DC

Future of Iran Initiative 

Iran Human Rights, the Regional Context and Constructive Criticism

A conversation with 
Ahmed Shaheed
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
UN Human Rights Council
Hadi Ghaemi
Founder and Executive Director
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
Haleh Esfandiari
Public Policy Fellow
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Sarah Leah Whitson
Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division
Human Rights Watch

Moderated by
Barbara Slavin
Acting Director, Future of Iran Initiative
Atlantic Council 
The Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative invites you to a panel discussion on the Iranian government’s human rights record, how it compares in the region, and the constructive steps the United States and the international community can take to persuade these governments to abide by international norms. The panelists will discuss the benefits a less repressive Iran could experience, such as economic gains and fuller re-integration into the international community. This event will also mark the release of a new issue brief entitled, “Will Iran’s Human Rights Record Improve?” by Initiative Acting Director Barbara Slavin.

On Twitter? Follow @ACSouthAsia and use #ACIran

Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record. 

VISITING THE COUNCIL: Metro and parking info 


Ahmed Shaheed has served as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran since 2011 and has produced ten reports presented to the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council. A lecturer at the School of Law and Deputy Director of the Human Rights Center at the University of Essex in Colchester, England and at the City University of New York, Shaheed has twice held the Office of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Maldives from 2005 to 2007 and from 2008 to 2010, during which time he led the country’s efforts to sign and ratify all nine international human rights Conventions; to implement them in law and practice; and to improve the country’s compliance with its UN Treaty Body reporting obligations. Shaheed established a non-governmental human rights organization in the Maldives to contribute to civil society’s work to advance respect for human rights in the country; and later worked as a member of the Presidential Commission to Investigate Corruption and as a foreign policy advisor to the President of the Maldives. A graduate of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Shaheed obtained his PhD in 1995 from the University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Hadi Ghaemi is an internationally recognized expert on Iran and human rights. In 2008, he founded the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The Campaign has since become one of the leading organizations documenting human rights violations in Iran and building international coalitions to support human rights. Previously, Ghaemi worked with Human Rights Watch, where his work focused international attention on the plight of migrant workers in Dubai, as well as the repression of civil society in Iran. Born in Iran, Ghaemi  received his doctorate in physics from Boston University in 1994. He was a professor of physics at City University of New York until 2000.
Haleh Esfandiari, the former and founding Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, is a Public Policy Fellow at the Wilson Center. A former journalist who served as deputy secretary general of the Women's Organization of Iran prior to the 1979 revolution, she taught Persian language at Oxford University and Persian language, contemporary Persian literature, and courses on the women's movement in Iran at Princeton University, prior to coming to the Wilson Center in 1995. Esfandiari is the author of two books including, My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran.  Her articles have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The New York Review of Books, Journal of Democracy, New Republic, Wilson Quarterly, Chronicle of Higher Education, Middle East Review and the Wall Street Journal.  Esfandiari received her Ph.D. from the University of Vienna.
Sarah Leah Whitson is executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division and oversees the work of the division in 19 countries, with staff located in 10 countries. She has led dozens of advocacy and investigative missions throughout the region, focusing on issues of armed conflict, accountability, legal reform, migrant workers, and political rights. She has published widely on human rights issues in the Middle East in international and regional media, including The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Los Angeles Times, and CNN. She appears regularly on Al-Jazeera, BBC, NPR, and CNN. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Whitson worked in New York for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School.