Alert Bangladesh: Prominent defenders receive two-year prison sentences

Iran: the UN must establish a fact-finding mission to ensure accountability and stop gross human rights violations

Oral statement

UN Human Rights Council – 35th Special Session on Iran

24 November 2022

Thank you, Mr President.

Iran’s brutal crackdown against peaceful protesters continues unabated. Since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the “morality” police in September 2022 for allegedly violating the discriminatory and abusive compulsory veiling laws, more than 14,000 protesters, journalists, students, including school children and human rights defenders have been arrested. Family members of human rights defenders are being threatened, and their houses, raided.

Human rights groups report that at least 416 people, including 51 children and 27 women, have been killed by security forces as they use live ammunition and metal pellets to violently disperse protesters and target bystanders. As the protests continue, the Iranian authorities have deployed special forces and Islamic Revolutionary Guard corps units, armed with military assault rifles and armoured vehicles. Since 15 November, Iran has increasingly been using excessive force in areas predominantly populated by Kurds and other ethnic groups.

Those detained are kept in overcrowded spaces. Many are tortured, subjected to physical assaults, electric shocks, threats, and sexual harassment. Many of those arrested have been subjected to judicial persecution and forced to make confessions. As of 21 November 2022, death sentences were handed to at least 6 protesters on charges of corruption on earth and enmity against God. The authorities are currently seeking the death penalty for at least 21 others associated with the protests.

In addition, the authorities continue to arrest lawyers representing protesters and activists. For example, in late September, human rights lawyers Milad Panahipour and Saeed Jalilian were arrested at Evin Court and detained for representing activist Hossein Ronaghi.

We call on the Council to create a fact-finding mission to investigate the deadly crackdown on protests as a first step towards accountability.

We thank you.

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