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Delegates attend the opening day of the 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, in Geneva, June 13, 2022. © 2022 Keystone/Valentin Flauraud

(Geneva) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should renew the mission of the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Iran and the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission, 43 Iranian and International organizations including Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to member countries.

The letter was issued after the Fact-Finding Mission presented its first report to the rights council, concluding that the Government of Iran is responsible for serious human rights violations, including crimes against humanity.

“Victims and survivors in Iran rely on these critical international mechanisms amid the brutal ongoing crackdown,” said Nahid Naghshbandi, acting Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The special rapporteur and Fact-Finding Mission play a vital role shining a spotlight on egregious abuses and amplifying the voices of survivors and victims for accountability and justice.”

The UN special rapporteur on Iran has played a crucial role since the position was established in 2011, monitoring and documenting abuses, engaging with Iranian authorities, including on individual cases, and supporting Iranian civil society.

The Fact-Finding Mission was established more recently – following the death in Iranian morality police custody of Jina Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman detained over her apparel – specifically to address the brutal state repression of nationwide protests in 2022, with a particular focus on the women and children. Its mandate focuses on advancing accountability for serious crimes, including through the collection and preservation of evidence and identification of suspected abusers.

In its report, presented to the UN Human Rights Council on March 8, 2024, it concluded that the Government of Iran committed serious human rights violations, including crimes against humanity, during the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests. These violations disproportionately affected women, children, and minorities, intersecting with discrimination based on ethnicity and religion. As abuses relating to the protests continue to reverberate in Iran, with total impunity at national level, the Mission’s work remains critical.

The human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated significantly in recent years, with heightened repression – particularly against women – since protests in 2022. There has been a significant spike in the use of the death penalty in Iran over the past year, including against those involved in protests and against juvenile offenders, in clear breach of international law. Iranian law discriminates against Baha’is, arresting them on vague national security charges and denying their university registration. The government also targets Sunni Muslims and ethnic minority activists, arresting them on similar charges and restricting their cultural and political activities.

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