Human Rights Violations Reported Against Protesters in Iran

Michele Bachelet, Presidente of Chile speaks during Special Session of the Human Rights Council. 29 March 2017. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré (file photo)
Michele Bachelet, Presidente of Chile speaks during Special Session of the Human Rights Council. 29 March 2017. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré (file photo)

Human Rights Violations Reported Against Protesters in Iran

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Friday expressed alarm at the continuing violation of human rights in Iran. At least 7,000 people have reportedly been arrested in 28 of Iran’s 31 provinces since mass protests broke out on 15 November.

During the five days of demonstrations, which according to official Government sources involved between 120,000 and 200,000 protesters, the UN Human Rights Office has information suggesting that at least 208 people were killed, including 13 women and 12 children.

There are also reports, which the UN Human Rights Office has so far been unable to verify, suggesting more than twice that number killed. “In such circumstances, with so many reported deaths, it is essential the authorities act with far greater transparency,” Bachelet said.

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Security forces responded to the protests with water cannon, tear gas, batons, and in some cases live ammunition against unarmed demonstrators who posed no imminent threat of death or serious injury. According to reports, members of the Basij militia and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG) were involved in shooting protesters.

In what appears to be one of the worst incidents, which took place on 18 November, the High Commissioner said her Office had received information partially corroborating reports that Iranian security forces used machine guns against protesters in Jarahi Square in Mahshahr – including against people fleeing the area and people hiding in nearby reed-beds – resulting in at least 23 people killed, and possibly many more.

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As well as protesters, it is reported that bystanders in the street and people watching from their homes were also hit with bullets during the Mahshahr incident. “There are conflicting reports about whether or not there were one or more armed people among the protesters,” Bachelet said. “But this does not in any way justify such an indiscriminate, horrifying and deadly reaction by the security forces.”

The UN Human Rights Office has received numerous reports of ill-treatment against those arrested, including with the apparent aim of extracting forced confessions, and State television has broadcast the “confessions” of some detainees alleged to be protest leaders and people affiliated with anti-government groups or foreign States.

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