GENEVA – A new report by the UN Secretary-General on the human rights situation in Iran condemns the widespread use of punitive measures and state-sponsored violence to keep the population engaged. Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for the World Panel on Human Rights, presented the report to the UN Human Rights Council.
The report notes that Iran’s collapsing economy, deteriorating standard of living, and increasing social and political pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic are fueling public discontent and protests.
Despite these problems, the report shows that the authorities are unwilling to adopt significant reforms or to respond compassionately to situations that arise from this crisis. The Secretary-General’s report shows the government is sticking to it and applying tighter criminal controls.
For example, Bachelet pointed out that Iran continues to use the death penalty widely for acts that do not constitute âthe most serious crimesâ under international law.
âIn violation of human rights, death sentences are often passed for confessions obtained through torture or for serious violations of the right to a fair trial. At least 267 people, including nine women, were executed in 2020, but only 91 of those executions were announced, “Bachelet said.
So far this year at least 95 people have been executed, including six women. She added that more than 80 minors are on death row, at least four of whom are at risk of imminent execution.
The report finds that ethnic, religious and other minorities are at particular risk of abuse, enforced disappearances and executions. Bachelet said the report documents the improper use of force by security forces against protesters and bystanders, as well as the intimidation, arbitrary detention and prosecution of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists.
âSo far, there has been no accountability for the serious human rights violations committed by security forces in response to protests.
The Iranian UN Ambassador to Geneva, Esmaeil Hamaneh, rejected the report, calling it politicized, biased and full of baseless accusations.
“The report presented today is based on a purely political mandate initiated by a group of like-minded or more similarly biased countries that have long instrumentalized human rights as part of their hostile agenda against Iran,” said Hamaheh.
The ambassador added that Iran was committed to promoting and protecting human rights.