Volker Turk, the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, called for an end to the unnecessary use of force against protesters in Iran. He said Iran was mired in a full-fledged human rights crisis.
Turk believes people from across Iranian society were clamouring for change and showing incredible courage. As such, he urged the Islamic Republic to end the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force.
“The old methods and the fortress mentality of those who wield power simply don’t work. In fact, they only aggravate the situation. We are now in a full-fledged human rights crisis,” the Commissioner said. “I urge the government and those in power to listen. The security forces have used live ammunition, birdshot and other metal pellets, tear gas and batons.”
Human Rights Violations
The UN highlighted that dead toll of Iran’s protests stands so far at 300, including at least 40 children. Turk said this is unacceptable. “From what we could gather, around 14,000 people, including children, have so far been arrested in the context of the protests.”
Official sources say at least 21 people arrested face the death penalty, of which at least six have been sentenced to death on charges of enmity against God and corruption on Earth. Turk outlined that statements had sought to delegitimize the protesters and label them as agents of enemies and foreign states. The United Nations described this as a “convenient narrative”, a typical narrative of tyranny.
The Commissioner said persistent impunity for human rights violations remained one of the major challenges in Iran. “I therefore, call for independent, impartial and transparent investigative processes into the alleged violations of human rights, consistent with international standards. I call on the authorities immediately to stop using violence and harassment against peaceful protesters.”
Turk urged the Iranian government to release all those arrested for peaceful protesting.
Iranian Force’s Heavy-Handedness
The Iranian forces have grown increasingly heavy-handed in their response. Demonstrations have spread across the country and evolved into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since 1979.
Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based group, said at least 416 people, including 51 children, have been killed across Iran in the crackdown since Mahsa Amini’s death. HRW senior Iran researcher Tara Sepehri Far said Iranian authorities seem determined to unleash brutal force to crush protests and have ignored calls to investigate the mountains of evidence of serious human rights violations.
The HRW has highlighted time and again footage circulating online of the special forces’ and IRGC units using weapons like heavy machine guns and assault rifles against protesters.