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

UN Human Rights Council – 35th Special Session on Iran 

Delivered by Nicola Paccamiccio

Thank you, Mr. President.

I deliver this statement on behalf of the OMCT, Volunteer Activists and CIVICUS. 

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 14000 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 armored 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.

Civic space in the Iran is rated as 'Closed' by the CIVICUS Monitor