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UN Human Rights Envoy Shocked by Iran Protests’ Death Tally

Javaid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, released a report on the human rights situation in Iran
Javaid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, released a report on the human rights situation in Iran

Javaid Rehman, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, in a report released on February 19, 2020, said he was “shocked” at the number of deaths, acute injuries, and ill-treatment of persons detained during the November 2019 protests.


The nationwide Iran protests erupted in November, following the fuel price hike. According to reports published at the time by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK), the regime’s security forces killed over 1500 protesters, arrested 12,000 and injured 4,000.  

Further reports published by the MEK and other leading rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Monitor (Iran HRM) confirmed that the Iranian regime used violence and torture against the detained protesters.

In this regard, Mr. Rehman wrote in his report: “According to reports, detainees are being tortured or are suffering other forms of ill-treatment, sometimes to extract forced confessions.” 

“There are also reports of denials of medical treatment, including for injuries caused by the excessive use of force by the security forces, with some other detainees being held incommunicado or being subjected to enforced disappearance,” he added.  

Mr. Rehman also highlighted that he is “concerned about reports that families of individuals killed by the security forces have been threatened not to speak out.” 

Javaid Rehman wrote in his report that in the days following the protests, images and reports emerged which demonstrated the security forces’ brutal methods including direct shooting of unarmed citizens. 

As Javid Rehman wrote in his report, one of the members of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committee of the regime had admitted that more than 7,000 protesters had been arrested. They were detained in overcrowded places without having access to their lawyers. They are being tortured and mistreated and put under pressure to make forced confessions. 

Javaid Rehman’s new report has been compiled under the UN General Assembly (UNGA)’s Resolution 74/167 and is scheduled to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council gathering on March 9, 2020. 

Javiad Rehman also urged the Iranian regime to free all the protesters arrested in November 2019 and to immediately inform their families of their conditions and whereabouts. 

Mr. Rehman also referred to the ongoing execution of minors, dire conditions in the detention centers, use of lethal force and violence against ethnic and religious minorities, public hangingskilling porters in Kurdistan and Sistan Baluchestan provinces, and discrimination against women. 

Javid Rehman’s report once again highlights the urgent need for the international community to take action to stop further human rights violations in Iran.  

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), had repeatedly urged the USecretary General to “dispatch an international fact-finding mission to Iran to investigate the conditions of death and injury of protesters in November and visit Iranian prisons and prisoners.”