Several international human rights and civil society organisations demand an end to the deliberate violence, arrest, threats, and charges against Iranian human rights defenders, journalists, student activists and civil rights actors, especially amongst minority ethnic groups.
They deplored that since 18 September 2022, over fifty human rights defenders, in addition to journalists and student activists, have been arrested and arbitrarily detained, some already charged with “acting against national security”. The death toll around the country is estimated to have gone beyond one hundred according to some human rights organisations and media outlets.
According to the Baloch Activists Campaign on 1 October 2022, at least sixty seven protesters have been killed only in Zahedan, Balouchestan province. The arrests and attacks appear to be aimed at punishing and silencing those protesting for human rights, especially women’s rights, and accountability for the death in Morality Police custody of a 22-year-old young woman, Mahsa (Jina) Amini, while enforcing the country’s discriminatory forced veiling laws. In response to this, several human rights groups have called for the Iranian police and authorities to be held accountable.
Iranian authorities are particularly targeting civil society members, women human rights defenders and those working on the rights of women and girls on the frontlines, including activists working on ethnic minority rights. At least 17 women’s rights and civil rights defenders have been arbitrarily arrested in the Kurdistan province. Jina Modares Gorji, a woman human rights defender, has started a hunger strike in protest against the physical assault and detention in Sanandaj Correctional Center since 21 September 2022.
Amid this rapid crackdown on human rights defenders, Iranian authorities continue to shut down mobile internet and disrupt telecommunication services. This has had a massive stifling impact on the right to protest and prevents human rights defenders from documenting and disseminating information about the ongoing human rights abuses.
The rights organizations that deplored these developments are Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran, Access Now, Agir ensemble pour les droits humains” among the signatories, ARTICLE19, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights, Kurdistan Human Rights Network, Kurdpa Human Rights Organization, Protection Internatioanl and World Organisation Against Torture.