The UN on Tuesday denounced the “hardening” of the Iranian response to the demonstrations and called on the authorities to impose an immediate moratorium on the death penalty.
“UN human rights chief Volker Türk says the rising death toll from protests in Iran, including those of two children over the weekend, and the toughening response by security forces underline the critical situation in the country”, said its spokesman Jeremy Laurence, during a regular press briefing in Geneva.
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“We urge the authorities to respond to people’s demands for equality, dignity and rights, instead of using unnecessary or disproportionate force to quell protests,” he added. He pointed out that “the lack of accountability for gross human rights violations in Iran persists and contributes to growing grievances.”
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More than 300 dead
The protests were sparked by the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, after her arrest for violating the very strict Sharia-inspired dress rules that apply to women in the country. Since the start of the protests, more than 300 people have been killed, including more than 40 children, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Norway-based NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported a higher toll, with at least 378 people, including 47 children, killed during the crackdown on protests. According to the High Commission, two 16-year-old boys were among the six people killed over the weekend.
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Moratorium on the death penalty
In total, “protesters were killed in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces, including more than 100 in Sistan and Balochistan,” the UN spokesman said, while stressing that Iranian authorities have also indicated that a number members of the security forces have been killed since the protests began. Thousands of people have been arrested across the country for taking part in peaceful protests, according to the UN.
The Office of the High Commissioner calls for the release of “all persons detained in connection with the exercise of their rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, and the dropping of charges against them” and also calls on Iran to “immediately impose a moratorium on the death penalty”.
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