The New Zealand government announced on Monday that it has halted its official human rights bilateral dialogue with Iran, saying that bilateral approaches are no longer adequate due to the denial of basic human rights in the country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta said in a statement that the decision to suspend dialogue with Iran is an indication that bilateral approaches to human rights are incompatible with Iran. Iran denies basic human rights and violently suppresses protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was killed after being detained by the morality police for wearing clothing deemed inappropriate.
“Violence against women, girls or any other members of Iranian society to prevent their exercise of universal human rights is unacceptable and must end. This is clearly a difficult time for the people of Iran,” Mahuta said.
In 2018, Iran and New Zealand established a human rights dialogue, with the hope of progressing human rights issues and concerns. The first round of talks was held in 2021, and the next one is scheduled for 2022.
New Zealanders who have been held in Iran for months have recently been released and are safe, according to New Zealand officials. The New Zealand government also last Wednesday updated its Iran travel warnings and urged New Zealanders currently there to return home.