The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Iran said on Wednesday that the authorities must end the continued crackdown on peaceful protesters and stop the wave of executions, mass arrests and imprisonment. They must also respect and protect the rights of all people in Iran, especially women and girls.
In his first oral update before the Human Rights Councilthe Investigation Mission affirmed that the general situation in the country is risk of further deterioration if no response is given to the concerns raised on alleged violations of fundamental rights.
They also warn of the deterioration that would occur if the the new legislation, which proposes more severe punishments for women and girls who fail to comply with the provisions relating to the forced use of the veil.
Demonstrations since September
The death in custody of Jina Mahsa in September, after she was arrested and detained by the morality police for allegedly failing to comply with Iran’s mandatory veiling law, sparked protests across the country.
“Ten months later, Jina Mahsa’s family’s right to truth and justice remains unfulfilled and we are concerned that domestic investigations have not met international standards, including requirements for speed, independence and transparency.” , declared the president of the Fact Finding Mission, Sara Hossai.
Iran’s government announced that 22,000 people have been pardoned in connection with the protests. The Mission notes that these individuals were apparently forced to “express remorse” and thus effectively admit their guilt, while agreeing not to commit “similar crimes” in the future, in violation of their rights. rights, including the right to freedom of association.
The members of La Misión warn that, ten months after the events, no official data on persons arrested, detained, charged or convicted is publicly available in connection with the protests. But reports continue to emerge of the arrest and imprisonment of protesters, including women and girls who refuse to comply with the headscarf law, and of harassment of their relatives.
“We are concerned about continued detention of human rights defenders and lawyers defending the protesters and at least 17 journalists, including Nilufar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, who first reported the death in custody of Jina Mahsa,” said Viviana Krsticevic, a member of the Mission.
According to the reports received, at least 26 people have been sentenced to death in connection with protests since November 2022, while dozens more have been charged or face capital offences. At least seven men have been executed after hasty procedures, amid serious allegations of rights violations, including confessions obtained under torture.
The Mission also notes that the sentences are being imposed after judicial proceedings that lack transparency and do not meet the basic guarantees of a fair trial and a process with due guarantees, established in international law.
Since the protests, two bills have been submitted that are pending consideration, including before the Majles, or Iranian Parliament. If approved, more severe punishments will be imposed on women and girls who violate the provisions on forced veiling and will expose them to increased risks of violence, harassment and arbitrary detention.
Women and girl students have reportedly been suspended from their studies or barred from university residences for violating the mandatory headscarf law, while fines have been imposed or businesses have been closed for non-compliance. Concern is also growing over reports of the use of information technologies facial recognition to identify and detain women and girls who do not submit to the obligation to wear a veil and to identify protesters.
Requests to visit the country
The Fact-Finding Mission has sent seven letters to the government of Iran, including repeated requests to visit the country to gather information essential for their investigations. To date, no response has been received. He also met on Tuesday with the Iranian president of the recently appointed “Special Committee to Investigate the 2022 Riots.”
“The people of Iran, including women and girls, have fundamental rights to equality, truth, justice, accountability and reparation that must be respected. We call on the government of Iran to fully cooperate with our mandate and ensure that all those affected have unimpeded and safe access to provide evidence,” Hossain said.