Human rights

Human rights experts alarmed by violent crackdown on civil society in Iran |

The six special rapporteurs were alarmed by the recent upsurge in arbitrary arrests teachers, trade union activists, trade union leaders, lawyers, human rights defenders and others.

Protests have spread across Iran since early May following the government’s decision to cut food subsidies. At least five protesters were killed following excessive use of force by security personnel.

Disastrous economic situation

“The crackdown comes against the backdrop of an extremely difficult economic situation, which the authorities themselves have acknowledged. We recall that the government bears the primary responsibility for the protection and promotion of human rights, including mitigating the effects of sanctions,” the experts said.

Over the past year, the Professional Association of Iranian Teachers has organized several nationwide demonstrations to protest against working conditions and low salaries, as well as the arrest of teachers and restrictions on teaching. public education for all.

Transport worker unions joined protests in several cities on May Day, which is both International Workers’ Day and Teachers’ Day in the country.

National security claims

More than 80 educators were arrested or summoned, and the homes of several trade unionists and teachers searched. None of the teachers had access to a lawyer.

Iranian authorities claimed that the arrests were due to “the infiltration of foreign-affiliated elements into the ranks of teachers and workers”, which threatens order and security in the country, the experts said. the UN.

Several prominent lawyers have also been arrested in connection with the crackdown, some of whom face national security charges.

Protests also erupted last month in Khuzestan province following the collapse of a 10-storey building in the provincial capital, Abadan, which left more than 40 dead and many more missing.

Protesters criticized authorities for allowing construction of the building, despite expert assessments advising against it.

Treat underlying causes

Civic space in Iran is ‘getting incredibly narrow’ in Iran, UN experts say, citing large-scale arrests and recent decision to disband Imam Ali Popular Students Relief Society, the largest non-governmental organization (NGO) of the country.

The Court of Appeal upheld the Interior Ministry’s motion to dissolve the NGO, which has done extensive work on poverty reduction.

Experts have called on the authorities to address the underlying causes of the protests and ensure that citizens can exercise their rights in peace.

“Without meaningful channels of participation in Iran, peaceful protests are now the only remaining means for individuals and groups to express themselves and share their grievances with the authorities,” they said.

“We are deeply concerned that the authorities’ first response is one of security, involving the use of excessive force against protesters, with what appears to be an active policy to protect perpetrators and prevent accountability.”

Role of UN rapporteurs

The special rapporteurs who issued the statement were appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

They have individual mandates covering issues such as the human rights situation in Iran and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, association, opinion and expression.

Special Rapporteurs report to the Council and act in their individual capacity. They are not UN staff and are not paid for their work.