ARTICLE 19 welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur. The ongoing, grave violations of human rights highlighted in the report show that it is more important than ever for this Council to enhance its scrutiny of Iran.
The authorities continue to crush protests using unlawful, including lethal, force with complete impunity. Most recently, security forces used unlawful and excessive force against protestors in Sistan and Baluchestan. To this date, no one has been held into account for the unlawful killing of hundreds of protesters and bystanders during the November 2019 protests.
Violent suppression of protests has increasingly become intertwined with total and partial Internet shutdowns, violating the right to freedom of expression and access to information. They are also a tool to conceal gross human rights violations and international crimes.
Despite the Special Rapporteur’s continuous calls for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty, there has been a surge in the use of the death penalty for political repression, including in the context of protests. In December, journalist and dissident Rouhollah Zam was executed after a grossly unfair trial.
Iran’s Parliament is launching a wholescale attack on human rights through regressive laws, including two new Penal Code provisions on “insulting religions and ethnicities” which effectively criminalise the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and religion and belief. Other regressive draft Bills targeting online expression and data protection are under consideration.
The practice of arbitrary detention continues, including that of dual nationals and residents of foreign countries, such as Aras Amiri.
Women and girls continue to face entrenched discrimination in law, including family, civil, and criminal, and in practice. Those speaking out against the practice of obligatory veiling, which violates women’s rights including the right to freedom of expression, freedom of religion and belief, and non-discrimination are persecuted by the authorities.
In light of the ongoing crisis of rights violations and endemic impunity, we urge the Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and to consider heightened accountability and scrutiny measures on Iran.