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Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, A/HRC/4/37/Add.1, 27 March 2007: Iran (Islamic Republic of)

342. On 19 October 2006, the Special Representative sent an urgent appeal concerning a human rights activist from Iran, Mohammad Babaei (commonly known as “Mani”), who is the current Health Secretary of the Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO) which was formerly known as the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization (PGLO). Mr Babaei provides mental health counseling services to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered persons (LGBTs), and also counsels HIV/AIDS victims in Iran. According to the information received, in recent weeks Mr Babaei’s employer at the pharmaceutical company where he had been working, notified the police authorities that Mr Babaei had been actively involved in activities with the PGLO, although the organization is not aligned to any political party. According to reports, this information enabled the police to link Mr Babaei to interviews he had given to the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in which the interviewee was critical of the Government’s treatment of gays and lesbians in Iran. The police reportedly came to Mr Babaei’s house in order to arrest him for the alleged interview and for his activities as an activist, but he could not be found. He has since left the country, fearing for his safety. Concern was expressed for the physical integrity of Mr Babaei as it is feared that he may face persecution if he returns to Iran. Further concern was expressed that the actions taken by the authorities may be related to Mr Babaei’s legitimate activities in defence of human rights in Iran, in particular his work promoting the human rights of LGBTs and HIV/AIDS victims in Iran.

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