Letter to the UK Home Secretory: Please release the new travel ban list

 Justice For Iran demanded UK Home Office to publicize the names of Iranian officials who were recently add into the UK travel ban list because of their role and responsibility in gross human rights violations.

Below is the complete text of the letter:

Justice for Iran commends the UK government for its recent passage of a new round of travel restrictions targeting the Iranian regime, including commanders, judges and prison officials who have committed serious human rights abuses in Iran since the disputed presidential elections of 2009. The UK’s addition of 50 new individuals from various governmental bodies in Iran to the already existing travel bansimposed by the European Union on 32 Iranian officials last April is an important step in further ensuring the end of impunity for Iran’s worst human rights violators.

While Justice for Iran applauds this legislation and the continuing effort of European states to review and expand the list of Iranian officials for whom restrictions are in place, it notes there are some issues of concern in respect to the latest action by the UK government—namely in respect to disclosure and scope.

In respect to disclosure, the most pressing concern is that now—more than two months after the bans were first announced—the list of 50 additional officials has not yet been made public. Further, no indication has been given that the names will be released in the near future.

The British Home Office has not yet given an official reason for why the names have not been released. However if the decision to withhold the names stems from privacy concerns for the individuals targeted by the ban, Justice for Iran submits that: (i) the challenges secrecy poses to enforcement of the bans militates in favour of release of the names, and arguably outweighs considerations of privacy and (ii) withholding the names defeats a principal aim behind sanctions measures—specifically to publicly “name and shame” the individuals targeted.

A significant obstacle to enforcement of travel bans is the ability of targeted individuals to evade sanction by securing falsified passports and travel visas in a third country. Publicising the travel ban list—along with photographs for identification purposes—will help inform non-governmental actors about the identity of targeted persons, and alert them to the possibility that their assistance to that individual may assist in bypassing sanctions—actions that can result in severe penalty.
Office:
Unit 23, Justice For Iran,
25-27 Bickerton Road,
N19 5JT London
UK

Email: info@justiceforiran.org
Website: www.justiceforiran.org

 

 

Publication of the names will also enable laypersons to assist in enforcement of sanctions through the provision of credible information about these individuals. Certain persons with information about the whereabouts of sanctioned individuals and their attempts to evade travel restrictions may not know to contact authorities should they be unaware of that person’s status on a sanction list. Therefore names should be publicised and the process an open and transparent one so that laypersons know the identity of sanctioned individuals and whom to contact to report possible violations of the bans.

Additionally, provided that the travel ban list is open to amendment, addition and revision, laypersons informed of the identity of individuals already on the list can assist in gathering further information about the underlying violations that form the basis for the inclusion of those individuals on the list, as well as identifying additional actors who may have committed, or been complicit in, the same or similar violations.[1]

Additionally to the extent that confidential information sharing between states—and particularly non-EU states—is classified or restricted from some internal sectors, public dissemination of the names assists governmental agencies, institutions and actors outside the UK in properly monitoring the movements of these named individuals and ensuring compliance with sanction.

Lastly a key aim of any sanctions regime is to “name and shame” targeted individuals. Publicly naming and shaming those affected alerts international companies, institutions, and other persons, of the nature of the targeted individual’s activities and accordingly discourages investment, trade, and transaction with the latter.[2] Even where such outcomes are not directly sought, this is an additional benefit to targeted sanctions regimes that should be facilitated as best possible.

Aside from considerations of enforcement of the bans, Justice for Iran is also concerned with the scope of these latest measures.
Office:
Unit 23, Justice For Iran,
25-27 Bickerton Road,
N19 5JT London
UK

Email: info@justiceforiran.org
Website: www.justiceforiran.org

 

In his statement announcing the new round of travel bans on Friday July 8, 2011, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the bans applied to “Iranians who have committed serious human rights abuses […] associated with the Iranian government’s brutal crackdown on its people since the disputed elections of 2009.”

While Justice for Iran applauds the decision of the UK government to target those officials associated with the escalation of human rights abuses following the 2009 presidential elections in Iran, it notes this is not enough.

The record of the Iranian government’s perpetration of human rights violations did not just start after the 2009 presidential election—rather there is a long history of such abuses in Iran. While many of the individuals already on the EU sanctions list have longstanding records of human rights abuses in Iran starting in the 1980s and continuing until the present day, other officials missing from the list—who may not be on UK list either—are responsible for some of the most serious crimes against humanity in the history of the Islamic Republic yet may be excluded from the UK list for not having committed any crimes post 2009 election.

While the escalation in human rights violations in Iran over the past couple of years is alarming, an increased focus on those crimes should not come at the cost of exemption of some perpetrators of crimes against humanity and serious human rights violations committed in Iran in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.

Accordingly, officials who committed or were complicit in significant human rights abuses in Iran preceding the presidential elections of 2009 should also be subject to sanction, just as they are under the EU’s targeted sanctions regime. To this end, Justice for Iran urges the UK government to embrace the more wide ranging temporal scope of sanctioned human rights abuses in Iran endorsed by the EU in its application of travel bans and other targeted sanctions.

In conclusion, Justice for Iran urges the UK government to publicise the names of those targeted by the most recent round of travel bans, as well as broaden the scope of those on
Office:
Unit 23, Justice For Iran,
25-27 Bickerton Road,
N19 5JT London
UK

Email: info@justiceforiran.org
Website: www.justiceforiran.org

 

 

September 8, 2011

 

To: Mrs. Theresa May

The Secretary of State for the Home Department

CC: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

 

Justice for Iran commends the UK government for its recent passage of a new round of travel restrictions targeting the Iranian regime, including commanders, judges and prison officials who have committed serious human rights abuses in Iran since the disputed presidential elections of 2009. The UK’s addition of 50 new individuals from various governmental bodies in Iran to the already existing travel bansimposed by the European Union on 32 Iranian officials last April is an important step in further ensuring the end of impunity for Iran’s worst human rights violators.

While Justice for Iran applauds this legislation and the continuing effort of European states to review and expand the list of Iranian officials for whom restrictions are in place, it notes there are some issues of concern in respect to the latest action by the UK government—namely in respect to disclosure and scope.

In respect to disclosure, the most pressing concern is that now—more than two months after the bans were first announced—the list of 50 additional officials has not yet been made public. Further, no indication has been given that the names will be released in the near future.

The British Home Office has not yet given an official reason for why the names have not been released. However if the decision to withhold the names stems from privacy concerns for the individuals targeted by the ban, Justice for Iran submits that: (i) the challenges secrecy poses to enforcement of the bans militates in favour of release of the names, and arguably outweighs considerations of privacy and (ii) withholding the names defeats a principal aim behind sanctions measures—specifically to publicly “name and shame” the individuals targeted.

A significant obstacle to enforcement of travel bans is the ability of targeted individuals to evade sanction by securing falsified passports and travel visas in a third country. Publicising the travel ban list—along with photographs for identification purposes—will help inform non-governmental actors about the identity of targeted persons, and alert them to the possibility that their assistance to that individual may assist in bypassing sanctions—actions that can result in severe penalty.
Office:
Unit 23, Justice For Iran,
25-27 Bickerton Road,
N19 5JT London
UK

Email: info@justiceforiran.org
Website: www.justiceforiran.org

 

 

Publication of the names will also enable laypersons to assist in enforcement of sanctions through the provision of credible information about these individuals. Certain persons with information about the whereabouts of sanctioned individuals and their attempts to evade travel restrictions may not know to contact authorities should they be unaware of that person’s status on a sanction list. Therefore names should be publicised and the process an open and transparent one so that laypersons know the identity of sanctioned individuals and whom to contact to report possible violations of the bans.

Additionally, provided that the travel ban list is open to amendment, addition and revision, laypersons informed of the identity of individuals already on the list can assist in gathering further information about the underlying violations that form the basis for the inclusion of those individuals on the list, as well as identifying additional actors who may have committed, or been complicit in, the same or similar violations.[1]

Additionally to the extent that confidential information sharing between states—and particularly non-EU states—is classified or restricted from some internal sectors, public dissemination of the names assists governmental agencies, institutions and actors outside the UK in properly monitoring the movements of these named individuals and ensuring compliance with sanction.

Lastly a key aim of any sanctions regime is to “name and shame” targeted individuals. Publicly naming and shaming those affected alerts international companies, institutions, and other persons, of the nature of the targeted individual’s activities and accordingly discourages investment, trade, and transaction with the latter.[2] Even where such outcomes are not directly sought, this is an additional benefit to targeted sanctions regimes that should be facilitated as best possible.

Aside from considerations of enforcement of the bans, Justice for Iran is also concerned with the scope of these latest measures.
Office:
Unit 23, Justice For Iran,
25-27 Bickerton Road,
N19 5JT London
UK

Email: info@justiceforiran.org
Website: www.justiceforiran.org

 

In his statement announcing the new round of travel bans on Friday July 8, 2011, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the bans applied to “Iranians who have committed serious human rights abuses […] associated with the Iranian government’s brutal crackdown on its people since the disputed elections of 2009.”

While Justice for Iran applauds the decision of the UK government to target those officials associated with the escalation of human rights abuses following the 2009 presidential elections in Iran, it notes this is not enough.

The record of the Iranian government’s perpetration of human rights violations did not just start after the 2009 presidential election—rather there is a long history of such abuses in Iran. While many of the individuals already on the EU sanctions list have longstanding records of human rights abuses in Iran starting in the 1980s and continuing until the present day, other officials missing from the list—who may not be on UK list either—are responsible for some of the most serious crimes against humanity in the history of the Islamic Republic yet may be excluded from the UK list for not having committed any crimes post 2009 election.

While the escalation in human rights violations in Iran over the past couple of years is alarming, an increased focus on those crimes should not come at the cost of exemption of some perpetrators of crimes against humanity and serious human rights violations committed in Iran in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.

Accordingly, officials who committed or were complicit in significant human rights abuses in Iran preceding the presidential elections of 2009 should also be subject to sanction, just as they are under the EU’s targeted sanctions regime. To this end, Justice for Iran urges the UK government to embrace the more wide ranging temporal scope of sanctioned human rights abuses in Iran endorsed by the EU in its application of travel bans and other targeted sanctions.

In conclusion, Justice for Iran urges the UK government to publicise the names of those targeted by the most recent round of travel bans, as well as broaden the scope of those on the list, in line with the recommendations above.

Sincerely,

Shadi  Sadr

Executive Director of Justice For Iran


[1] If it has not been done so already, a proper channel of communication should be set up for members of the public to contact the UK government and come forward with credible information about non-compliance of sanctioned individuals and/or additional information of underlying violations warranting sanction on either the UK or EU list.

[2] To this end, distinction should also be made between those individuals placed on the list due to an association with Iran’s nuclear programme versus those placed on the list for their involvement in human rights abuses in Iran for purposes of divestment campaigns and similar initiatives. Justice for Iran therefore encourages the UK government to categorise any release of names accordingly and appropriately distinguish between the classes of persons targeted where otherwise not readily apparent through job title, their respective position and status, and/or where they fall into both categories of persons.

the list, in line with the recommendations above.

Sincerely,

Shadi  Sadr

Executive Director of Justice For Iran


[1] If it has not been done so already, a proper channel of communication should be set up for members of the public to contact the UK government and come forward with credible information about non-compliance of sanctioned individuals and/or additional information of underlying violations warranting sanction on either the UK or EU list.

[2] To this end, distinction should also be made between those individuals placed on the list due to an association with Iran’s nuclear programme versus those placed on the list for their involvement in human rights abuses in Iran for purposes of divestment campaigns and similar initiatives. Justice for Iran therefore encourages the UK government to categorise any release of names accordingly and appropriately distinguish between the classes of persons targeted where otherwise not readily apparent through job title, their respective position and status, and/or where they fall into both categories of persons.