Asia Pacific

Iran’s Still Cracking Down 2 Years Post Massive Protests

Addressing the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the International Fact-Finding Mission on Iran – a group of Council-appointed independent experts – said that Ms. Amini’s death in September 2022 was “unlawful and caused by physical violence” for which the State is responsible.

Chairperson Sara Hossain told the forum’s 47 Member States that after Ms. Amini’s death, young women and schoolchildren “were at the forefront” of nationwide protests. 

“The entire State apparatus was mobilised with security forces using firearms, including AK-47s and Uzis as we documented in some areas, resulting in injuries and deaths,” she said.

Acts of defiance

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There are “credible figures” that indicate there were 551 deaths, at least 49 women and 68 children, “and we found that those occurred in 26 out of the 31 provinces of Iran over multiple months”, the Mission found.

Ms. Hossain explained that many protesters “removed their hijab in public places as an act of defiance against long-standing discriminatory laws and practices”.

Men and boys joined in the protests in solidarity too, the Council heard, along with minorities who demanded equality.

”What we found was that security forces shot at protesters and also at bystanders at very short distances in a targeted fashion, causing injuries to their heads, necks, torsos, genital areas, but particularly to the eyes,” reported Ms. Hossain. “We found hundreds of protesters had these life changing injuries, with many of them now blinded and branded essentially for life marked as dissidents.”

Challenges gathering evidence

Despite the many challenges the Mission was facing, such as total lack of access to the country and no cooperation on the part of the Iranian Government, it was able to collect and preserve over 27,000 items of evidence.

It conducted a total of 134 in-depth interviews with victims and witnesses, including 49 women and 85 men, both inside and outside the country, and gathered evidence and analysis from experts on digital and medical forensics and on domestic and international law.

The human rights probe noted that 30 September 2022 had become known as “Bloody Friday” in Zahedan city after credible sources indicated that security forces had killed 104 protesters and bystanders, mostly men and boys.

The probe also took note of the Iranian Government’s claim that 54 security officers had been killed and many others injured.

Spike in executions, including children

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran also presented his report to the Human Rights Council on Monday. 

Addressing the Geneva-based UN rights body, Javaid Rehman offered an overview of the most grave violations registered, which include a spike in death penalty sentences and executions, including children, and a continuous clampdown on women’s rights.

Now, at the end of his six-year tenure, Mr. Rehman has never been granted access to the country, despite frequent requests. 

United Nations

Javaid Rehman, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran addresses the media. (file)

The Special Rapporteur stated that 834 people were executed in 2023, marking a 43 per cent rise from the previous year, with a significant portion related to drug offenses. 

“Despite serious concerns expressed by my mandate and by the international community, children continued to be executed in Iran with at least one reported execution in 2023,” he said, adding that at least 23 women were executed last year.

He also raised concerns about the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities and the harassment and detention of human rights defenders, journalists and trade union activists.

Citing the violent suppression of protests in 2022 following the death of 22-year-old Ms. Amini, he described how public protests had grown into the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement. 

State authorities had behaved “with complete impunity” and unlawfully killed hundreds of people, including dozens of women and children.

‘Chilling’ use of AI

Ms. Hossain told the Human Rights Council that the Fact-Finding Mission had received “chilling reports on the use by the State of artificial intelligence (AI), including through new mobile apps, to monitor and enforce compliance by women and girls with mandatory hijab rules,” explained Ms. Hossain. 

The Special Rapporteur, too, criticized Iran’s enforcement of “gender segregation and draconian measures”, such as threatening unveiled women with vehicle confiscation and imposing harsh punishments, including flogging, for “improper veiling”.

Gains overshadowed by violations 

Despite some positive steps, such as amendments to drug trafficking laws, widespread human rights violations persist, overshadowing progress. Urgent action is needed for Iran to uphold its international obligations, underscored the Special Rapporteur. 

Rapporteurs and other rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council are not UN staff and are independent of any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and receive no salary for their work.



  1. As Chairperson, I condemn the unlawful actions of the State leading to the deaths and injuries of protesters, especially women and children. The use of violence against peaceful demonstrations is abhorrent and must be addressed with urgency.

    1. Yes, the International Fact-Finding Mission confirmed that security forces in Iran continue to target protestors, leading to serious injuries and deaths. The report highlights ongoing human rights violations in the country.

  2. Ms. Hossain’s report vividly illustrates how the Iranian state’s crackdown on protesters, including women and schoolchildren, was brutal and unjust. It is alarming to see the extent of violence inflicted on the demonstrators, with firearms being used recklessly. The defiance shown by protesters, such as removing their hijab, symbolizes the resistance against oppressive laws. The high number of casualties, including women and children, is deeply concerning and highlights the urgent need for international intervention to protect human rights in Iran.

  3. It’s heartbreaking to see the continuing crackdown on human rights in Iran. The violence against protesters, especially young women and schoolchildren, is unacceptable. The State must be held accountable for these unlawful acts. The bravery of those who stand up against discriminatory laws and practices is admirable. We can’t turn a blind eye to such atrocities. #HumanRights #IranProtests

  4. Are there any specific actions being taken to hold the State accountable for the unlawful deaths and violence committed during the protests?

    1. Investigations are ongoing to hold the State accountable for the unlawful deaths and violence during the protests. It’s crucial for justice to be served and for those responsible to face consequences.

  5. It is absolutely heartbreaking to hear about the tragic events unfolding in Iran. The violence and repression against peaceful protesters, especially women and children, is deeply disturbing. The world must come together to condemn such atrocities and demand justice for the victims.

  6. It is truly devastating to read about the ongoing crackdown in Iran even two years after the massive protests. The violence and unlawful deaths, especially of women and children, are unacceptable. The courage of the protesters, including the act of removing the hijab as a form of defiance, is commendable. It’s crucial for the international community to stand up against such human rights violations.

  7. It is truly heartbreaking to read about the ongoing crackdown on human rights in Iran. The violence and oppression faced by the brave individuals standing up for their rights is deeply concerning. As a global community, we must continue to shine a light on these atrocities and work towards creating a safer and more just world for all.

  8. The crackdown on protesters in Iran is deeply concerning. Women and children bear the brunt of the violence, with hundreds left with life-changing injuries. It’s crucial for the international community to take action against such violations of human rights.

  9. Do you have any information on the current state of human rights violations in Iran post the massive protests?

    1. Yes, the International Fact-Finding Mission on Iran recently reported that there are still ongoing human rights violations in Iran, even 2 years after the massive protests. The Mission found credible figures indicating numerous deaths, including women and children, across multiple provinces. Acts of defiance, such as publicly removing the hijab, have been documented. It’s a concerning situation that continues to demand international attention and action.

  10. Are the protests still ongoing or have they subsided in Iran since the crackdown?

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