Article18 calls on UN to condemn Iran’s ‘grave’ human rights abuses

Article18 calls on UN to condemn Iran’s ‘grave’ human rights abuses

Article18 has joined with other rights groups to call on the UN General Assembly to publicly condemn Iran for “grave human rights violations” including the unlawful killing of hundreds of peaceful protesters and detention of thousands more, as well as the “systematic” denial of religious freedom.

An open letter signed by 39 rights groups including Article18 was sent today to all members of the UN General Assembly in New York, asking for their support for a draft UN resolution that calls on the Iranian authorities to “release anyone detained for peacefully exercising their rights, including people detained solely for taking part in peaceful protests”.

The draft resolution was adopted on 14 November, the day before a new wave of protests began in more than 100 cities across Iran.

“By supporting this resolution, the UN General Assembly will send a strong message to the Iranian authorities that, in this time of crisis more than ever, the fulfilment by Iran of its human rights obligations remains a priority for the international community, and that genuine and tangible improvements to the situation are expected,” the letter says.

It notes that in response to the protests at least 208 people have been verified by Amnesty International as killed – with the real death toll believed to be significantly higher – and 7,000 arrested.

It calls on the UN to publicly condemn the crackdown and “ensure those responsible are held to account”.

“Horrific accounts from eyewitnesses and victims’ relatives, information gathered from human rights activists and journalists outside Iran and extensive verified video footage all provide clear evidence that the security forces have used firearms against unarmed protesters who posed no threat to life,” the letter says.

Several bystanders have been reported among the dead, including an Assyrian Christian.

The letter also expresses “serious concern” about the fate and whereabouts of those detained, “many of whom have been subjected to enforced disappearance or have otherwise been arbitrarily detained and denied access to their families and lawyers of their choosing”.

It notes that detained protesters have been subjected to torture and forced “confessions”, and “smeared” by the authorities, who have called them “villains” and “rioters” and petitioned for their execution.

The UN’s draft resolution also highlights other “long-standing patterns of human rights violations”, including the “systematic” violation of freedom of religion or belief against members of religious minorities such as Christian converts, and the denial of medical care in prisons to those charged with “national security”-related crimes.

A Christian convert serving a ten-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison for “forming a house-church” and “promoting Zionist Christianity” was recently denied medical care despite days of fever and hallucinations.

On Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said the picture emerging from Iran was “extremely disturbing”.

“There appear to be multiple violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified and is obliged to uphold,” she said in a statement.

“… I urge the authorities to immediately release from detention all protestors who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, and to ensure their right to due process, including access to a lawyer of their choosing during the investigative stage. 

“In the event of further protests, I urge the Government to respect Iranians’ right to exercise freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and, in addition to investigating the violations that have already occurred, to restrict the use of force to the greatest extent possible, as provided for under the relevant international norms and standards.”

The 39 co-signatories are:

Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran 

All Human Rights for All in Iran

Amnesty International

Arseh Sevom




Association for the Human Rights of the Azerbaijani people in Iran  (AHRAZ)

Balochistan Human Rights Group

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Center for Human Rights in Iran

Centre for Supporters of Human Rights

Child Rights International Network (CRIN) 


Committee to Protect Journalists

Conectas Direitos Humanos

Gulf Centre for Human Rights

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRAI)

Human Rights Watch

Impact Iran

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)

International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)

Iran Human Rights

Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

International Service for Human Rights

Justice for Iran

Kurdistan Human Rights -Geneva (KMMK-G)

Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN)

OutRight Action International

The Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI)

Together against the death penalty (ECPM)

Minority Rights Group International

Siamak Pourzand Foundation 

Small Media

The Advocates for Human Rights

United for Iran

World Coalition against the Death Penalty

6Rang (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network)

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