United Nations has restated concerns regarding the human rights situation in Iran, urging the release of detained protestors and an immediate end to executions.
In a recently released report, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted a surge in executions, the detainment of protestors, pressures on students and educators, and gender-based discrimination. The report, submitted to the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, details the progress made in the implementation of resolution 77/228, addressing human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The report noted that Iran’s engagement with UN human rights bodies remained limited, and the implementation of recommendations from international human rights mechanisms remained low.
The report raised concerns about Iran’s death penalty, revealing that at least 419 people were reportedly executed, including 409 men and 10 women, between January 1, 2023, and July 31, 2023, marking a 30 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
It also highlighted the cases of seven men executed for their involvement in nationwide protests triggered by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini in September 2022. The report also mentioned, “At least seven men are allegedly considered at risk of execution, including those from minority communities connected to the nationwide protests.”
The Secretary-General expressed alarm over large-scale arrests and detentions carried out by security forces targeting protesters and their supporters. It estimated that between September 17, 2022, and February 8, 2023, approximately 20,000 individuals were arrested for participating in protests, with many of them possibly children, given the reported average age of 15 among those arrested.
The report also noted overcrowding in prisons, with prisons in areas with minority populations being particularly affected.
Regarding the crackdown on dissent, the report highlighted that Iranian authorities continued to justify restrictions on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, both online and offline, using a strict national security approach. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call to “eliminate dissenting voices” from online spaces raised further concerns.
The report mentioned 17 journalists (9 men and 8 women) detained in connection with the protests between September 16, 2022, and March 31, 2023.
In the section on Iran’s economic situation, the UN report discussed rising poverty, inequalities, and the increased cost of living. Iran faced high inflation and a significant decrease in the value of its currency, rial, along with increased poverty and unemployment levels.
The UN report expressed concerns about Iran’s new hijab law, which would further discriminate against women and girls by expanding the scope of offenses related to compulsory veiling. The bill would impose punishments such as monetary fines, restrictions on accessing banking services, confiscation of personal property, travel restrictions, bans on online activity, and imprisonment of up to 25 years for repeat offenders. It would also allow flogging for women appearing “uncovered in public.”
The report concluded with recommendations for the Iranian government, which have been reiterated multiple times, yet the Islamic Republic has not heeded them.