Letter to Volker Türk and Nada Al-Nashif

Dear Mrs Deputy High Commissioner Al-Nashif

Dear Mr High Commissioner Türk,

As Austrian-Iranian organisations working for human rights in Iran, we are concerned that the visit of Deputy High Commissioner Nada Al-Sharif to Iran is being misused by the Iranian regime for propaganda purposes.

Numerous human rights groups worldwide have already appealed to the OHCHR to postpone the visit until the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran will be finalised in March 2024. However, if the visit takes place as planned at the beginning of February, we call on the OHCHR to send a clearly visible signal of protest against executions and the oppression of women by the Islamic Republic with its visit to Iran.

The regime’s daily execution of prisoners – more than 800 executions were reported in 2023 alone and politically motivated executions have taken place again in recent days – underscores the urgent need for accountability of the Islamic Republic.

Since the establishment of the fact-finding mission to Iran in 2022, the regime has used physical and psychological torture of political prisoners to coerce confessions and then sentence them to death or unjustifiably long prison sentences in unfair trials in violation of international legal standards.

We ask you to send a visible signal of protest by visiting Iran.

  1. Insist that the Islamic Republic:
  • Allows independent visits to prisons without the presence of regime representatives or prison guards to ensure access to political prisoners
    • Enables independent visits to political prisoners sentenced to death
    • Enables independent visits to the families of those sentenced to execution
    • Ensures that all prisoners have access to medical care
  • Publicly announce that Mrs Al-Nashif will not wear a hijab during her visit to show solidarity with Iranian women suffering from gender apartheid, persecution and oppression.
  • In addition, Mrs Al-Nashif should use the visit to personally meet Nobel Peace Prize winner Narges Mohammadi and European Parliament Sakharov Prize winner Nasrin Sotudeh in prison.

This visit should be a visible sign from the United Nations to over 83 million Iranians, demonstrating the world community’s full support for Iranian citizens in guaranteeing human rights and outlawing the death penalty, the oppression of women and minorities, and the torture and ill-treatment of prisoners and protesters.

We hope that the OHCHR will prepare a detailed and publicly available report on this visit, that the Islamic Republic will comply with the demands and that the human rights situation will improve sustainably.


Prof. Dr. Siroos Mirzaei
Medical Professionals for Human Rights  in Iran – Austria

Dr. Behrouz Bayat
Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran

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