prisoner exchange

After the Ministry of Justice underwent structural reforms in 2015, the six months to September 22 to be more exact, a Human Rights and International Affairs Department was set up at the ministry. The move, a first in the country, was in line with the policies of the Government of Prudence and Hope. 

Article 160 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran identifies the justice minister as a liaison between the judiciary and the executive and legislative branches of government. The new department makes the necessary coordination to manage human rights and civil liberties, which are an interdepartmental and extra-departmental issue. Among other things, the new department also handles international cooperation and the rights of the child.
The department has three units: the Office for Human Rights and Civil Liberties, the Office for International Cooperation, and the National Authority Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Deputy Justice Minister for Human Rights and Civil Liberties
Mahmoud Abbasi, Ph.D.

Educational Background
- BS in literature
- BS in Judicial Science
- MS in Criminal Law and Criminology
- MS in International Law
- Ph.D. in Medical Law (graduated with honor)
- Fellowship in Bioethics

Professional Background
- A Tehran Justice Department judge hearing criminal medical and pharmaceutical cases
- Founder and vice-chairman of the International Association of Islamic Bioethics
- Founder and chairman of the Committee for Ethics in Science and Technology of the National Commission of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO)
- Deputy vice-president for parliamentary affairs at the Martyrs Foundation
- Director general of the Office for Parliamentary Affairs at the Martyrs Foundation
- Director general of the Legal Office of the Blood Transfusion Organization
- Legal adviser to the director of the Medical Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran
- Head of the Center for Prevention of Medical Dereliction and Crimes at the Medical Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran
- Chairman of the Law, Ethics and Standards Committee of the Biotechnological Development Headquarters of the Presidential Office
- Director of the Bioethics Group of the UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy
- Director of the Medical Ethics Group at the Medical Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran
- Tehran-based Attorney at Law and Legal Counsel
- Member of the Bioethics Committee of the National Commission of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO)
- Director of the International Cooperation Committee of the Society for Scientific Development in Iran
- Deputy director of the Special Inspection Unit at the Presidential Office
- Director of the Medical and Pharmaceutical Branch of the Tehran Office for Tazirat [offenses whose punishment is at the discretion of the judge]
- Chairman of the Bioethics Committee of the Biotechnological Development Headquarters of the Presidential Office
- Director of Medical Ethics at Shahid Beheshti University

Awards and Accolades
- Top researcher and faculty member of a research festival organized by Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (2009)
- Accolade for research in a 15th edition of Koranic Competitions for members of staff at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (March 2011)
- Accolade from the Royan Research Institute, an affiliate of the Iranian Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research (2011)
- Accolade from the dean of the University of Basra (March 2012)
- Top researcher and faculty member of the research festival organized by Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (2012)
- Accolade from the Special Inspection Unit at the Presidential Office (2014)

Duties, Missions and Plans
The Human Rights and International Affairs Department of the Justice Ministry pursues the following:
- Promoting legal and judicial cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and other countries as well as international organizations
- Training and promoting civil liberties
- Contributing to efforts by civil liberties clinics to promote public culture in society
- Promoting the rights of the child in society
- Tapping into the potential of some international conventions, including World Anti-Slavery Convention, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, etc.
- Following up issues such as human rights dialogue, theorization and free thinking in society
- Making optimal use of international educational potential when it comes to human rights and civil liberties
- Holding consultations and talks for introduction of a general course on human rights and civil liberties in universities
- Organizing conferences and scientific meetings on civil liberties
- Cooperating with executive institutions to offer training, supervision and monitoring of civil liberties
- Offering online training on civil liberties to civil servants and members of society at large

Important Measures
The measures the Human Rights and International Affairs Department of the Justice Ministry takes are aimed at capacity-building and raising awareness.
Formation of civil liberties committees in Islamic City Councils, and efforts to tap into the potential of the public and private sectors in a bid to set up civil liberties clinics across the country are some of the measures the department has taken to raise awareness about human rights and civil liberties.
Organization of specialized gatherings to raise awareness – among those involved in different sectors – about civil liberties and human rights, especially the rights of the child is another measure the department has undertaken to raise public awareness when it comes to the rights and responsibilities of the public in society.
To secure a number of set goals on the capacity-building front, the Human Rights and International Affairs Department has taken a number of steps, among them, qualitative development of international legal and judicial documents, establishment of child rights centers in provincial capitals, expansion of the activities of civil liberties clinics on a national scale in cooperation with public and private entities, and conclusion of cooperation deals with other state and non-state institutions on related issues.


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