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Iran: more than 760,000 people support UN investigation - new petition

Some of those killed in the crackdown © Private

Actor Nazanin Boniadi conveys demand for action at UN in New York

More than 200 people have been killed in protest crackdown, including 30 children

‘The UN Human Rights Council must immediately convene a special session on Iran’ - Heba Morayef

More than 760,000 people in 218 countries and territories have added their voices to petitions calling for the establishment of an independent UN mechanism to conduct investigations as a step towards pursuing accountability for the most serious crimes under international law committed in Iran.


More than 200 people - including 30 children - have so far been killed in a lethal crackdown by the Iranian authorities since mass protests began on 16 September following the death in custody of the young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for supposedly improperly wearing her hijab while visiting Tehran. 

Yesterday, Nazanin Boniadi, a British-Iranian actor and Amnesty UK Ambassador, conveyed demands for immediate action by the UN Human Rights Council to UN officials in New York. Amnesty offices around the world also delivered petitions to their foreign ministries. 

Last week, ten UN experts - including the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran - called on the Human Rights Council to urgently take action, including by establishing an international investigative mechanism on Iran during a special session. This call has been supported by Amnesty and 42 other human rights organisations. The German minister of foreign affairs has announced that Germany would support convening a special session to establish a UN mechanism on Iran.

Amnesty is stressing that the UN mechanism must be established with a mandate to investigate crimes under international law and serious violations of human rights committed by the Iranian authorities to crush successive nationwide protests since December 2017.

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said: 

“The people of Iran continue to courageously protest and call for the end of widespread repression and the establishment of a political system that respects equality and upholds human rights. 

“The international community’s failure to act has emboldened the Iranian authorities to intensify their unlawful use of force, including lethal force, against protesters, killing over 200 people - including 30 children - since protests began on 16 September. 

“The UN Human Rights Council must immediately convene a special session on Iran to prevent further crimes under international law and human rights violations - including unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment - against all those arbitrarily detained since the authorities’ crackdown on protests began.”

‘Severely confront’

Amnesty has previously revealed how Iran’s highest military body has instructed the country’s armed forces in all provinces to “severely confront” protesters. Amnesty has also documented the widespread, unwarranted use of lethal force and firearms by Iran’s security forces, who either intended to kill protesters or should reasonably have known that their use of firearms would result in deaths. Last week, Iran’s security forces intensified their use of unlawful force by using live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas against protesters and mourners gathered in at least four provinces, including Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah and Lorestan provinces.

Series of crackdowns

The Iranian authorities’ violent repression of protests in Iran - which erupted after the death in custody of Mahsa Amini on 16 September - is the latest in a series of crackdowns by the Iranian authorities against people expressing their legitimate grievances in Iran since 2017. Amnesty has previously documented crimes under international law and serious human rights violations by the Iranian authorities, including unlawful killings following unwarranted lethal use of force, mass arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, and the sentencing of individuals to lengthy prison terms or death following grossly unfair trials. The Iranian authorities have ignored repeated calls by the international community to open criminal investigations into unlawful killings committed in the context of these protests. Instead, they have sought to destroy evidence of their crimes while persecuting survivors and victims’ relatives.

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