IRAN - UN Secretary-General’s report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

23 June 2024 :

June 20, 2024 - IRAN. Presentation of the Secretary-General’s report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (A/HRC/56/22)
Delivered by Nada Al-Nashif, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
At 56th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva
Distinguished President,
Your Excellencies,
Colleagues and Friends,
Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 77/220, the Council has been presented with the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, covering the period from 1 August 2023 to 31 March 2024.
During this period, the Islamic Republic of Iran continued to engage with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and with a number of human rights mechanisms. The Government submitted its fifth and sixth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in November of last year and responded to nine communications sent by Special Procedures. Earlier this year and at the invitation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I led an OHCHR mission to the country from 3 to 5 February 2024 to discuss critical human rights issues including the death penalty and the rights of women.
The Secretary-General’s report notes with serious concern the high number of executions during the reporting period. According to information received, at least 834 individuals were executed last year, which represents a 43 per cent increase from the previous year. Especially troubling is the 84 per cent increase in executions for drug-related offenses in 2023, the highest figure in nearly a decade. Minorities continue to be disproportionately affected by executions, with 20 per cent of all executions in 2023 affecting the Baluch minority. While noting an overall decline in the sentencing of children to death since 2014, the report deplores the execution of two child offenders in 2023 and urges the Government to introduce an immediate moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition also to prohibit the execution of all offenders who were under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crime. It is deeply regrettable that during the reporting period, two men were executed in relation to the September 2022 nationwide protests, bringing the total of those to nine. Serious allegations of torture-tainted confessions and due process violations have permeated these cases.
Civic space online and offline continued to be severely restricted. The Government tightly controls access to information, including by blocking access to social media platforms. Journalists and writers continue to be targeted in connection to their work. In 2023, at least 49 writers were imprisoned. Artists have also been targeted for exercising their freedom of opinion and expression including the artist Toomaj Salehi, later convicted and sentenced for “corruption on earth” which carries the death penalty, over views he expressed in the context of the 2022 nationwide protests. The report also describes an environment of intimidation, coercion, and repression against lawyers challenging judicial proceedings, against human rights defenders, and the families of protest victims.
The report expresses continued concern in relation to the Bill to Support the Family by Promoting the Culture of Chastity and Hijab (Chastity and Hijab Bill), which seeks to reinforce mandatory public hijab requirements for women and girls and introduces severe penalties for non-compliance.
Despite advances achieved by and for women and girls in Iran in particular in the education sector and towards ensuring participation in political and public life, women continue to face ongoing, significant barriers to political representation, as apparent in the March 2024 parliamentary elections.
The report also draws attention to the significant findings of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran (“Fact-Finding Mission”) and its recommendations.
The report highlights the impact of the economic crisis exacerbated by the impact of unilateral coercive measures and economic mismanagement, on living conditions and access to health, food and water. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s ratification of the ILO’s Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155) and the Protocol of 2002 to the Occupational Safety and Health Conventionduring the reporting period could strengthen the normative protection framework for workers and full implementation will be key to improve working conditions.
30,000 children with disabilities lack access to primary education, while the law still permits child marriages for girls as young as 13 and boys as young as 15. Additionally, over 40,000 children, particularly from minority and marginalized groups, lack official identification documents, hindering their access to essential services such as healthcare and education.
Numerous individuals were reportedly arrested, imprisoned, expelled from educational institutions, and denied economic opportunities based on their perceived affiliation with minorities, including the Baloch, Ahwazi Arab, Kurds, Baha’i and Christian communities.
Your Excellencies,
The report welcomes the 28 November 2023 directive on “Referring to International Human Rights Conventions in Judicial Decisions” presented by the Deputy Head of the Judiciary. The directive instructs judges to align their decisions with the international human rights obligations of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The report also notes the summary findings of the Special Committee tasked with investigating violations in the context of the 2022 protests and measures imposed on certain security personnel found culpable or negligent, as well as steps of compensation towards some victims. While efforts toward accountability are welcome, concerns remain over the independence of the Special Committee and the lack of information on steps taken to prevent future violations and address long-standing human rights grievances.
The report notes a measure of interaction between the Special Committee and the Fact-Finding Mission, but regrets that the Government denied it access to the country. Following the renewal of its mandate by this Council, I call on the Government to fully cooperate with it, as well as with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Our Office stands ready to continue its engagement with the Iranian authorities on the range of issues highlighted in the report of the Secretary-General for the promotion and protection of all human rights.
Thank you.


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