Iranians suffered intense violation of their rights over the past year, according to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran Javaid Rehman in his report to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
Rehman, who was forced to base his report on news and reliable sources because he was not allowed into Iran, expressed concern and urged the HRC to look closely at the abuses in Iran.
One issue of particular concern to him was the high number of executions in Iran during 2020, with 233 reported by Iran’s officials and the fear that many more may have occurred in secret. He also raised the issue of political prisoners, like Navid Afkari, receiving unfair trials that led to their executions.
Rehman further spoke about a violation of the right to information and freedom of expression, as the government maintained its ban on most social networks and disrupted or disconnected the internet amid protests in several areas to stop news from spreading. In addition, with 80% of the county in poverty, many cannot afford internet access.
In addition, bloggers and journalists were arrested, imprisoned, and even executed over the course of the last year on vague charges. Those in prison, like Soheil Arabi, are subjected to severe torture.
Another major issue of concern is the violation of workers’ rights, where peaceful protests over dire living conditions and poverty pay, are met with intense and brutal suppression by the security forces, as happened in the truck drivers’ strikes. On a related note, the security forces keep killing border porters, who are just trying to do their job, carrying heavy loads across the mountains on foot.
Meanwhile, religious minorities are being subjected to discrimination that prevents members of the Bahai faith from studying at university or being employed in the government. Many Bahais are arrested on vague charges.
But the biggest, all encompassing abuse of human rights in Iran is the authorities’ response to the coronavirus pandemic; initially concealing it and then using it as a weapon to discourage protests, which may be why Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has refused to purchase safe and approved vaccines for the people, instead promising that a domestic vaccine can be rolled out next year.
Given all this, the world should continue to watch Iran closely and refuse to give concessions to mullahs that could ensure their continued hold on power.