On 13 September 2022, Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini was arrested in Tehran by Iran’s so-called “morality” police. Eyewitnesses reported seeing her being violently beaten in a police van. Within hours, she was taken to hospital in a coma, and three days later the 22-year-old died.
The “morality” police routinely subject women and girls to arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment for not complying with Iran’s abusive, degrading and discriminatory compulsory veiling laws. Mahsa’s death sparked widespread protests across Iran. The protests have been met with a deadly crackdown.
Security forces have repeatedly used unlawful force. They have fired live ammunition and metal pellets at protesters at close range, misused tear gas and water cannons, and severely beaten people with batons. Since Mahsa’s death, we have recorded the deaths of dozens of men, women and children. Hundreds of others have sustained painful and serious injuries, including at least two who have been blinded in one or both eyes. Most are not seeking hospital treatment for fear of arrest, increasing the risk of infection and other health complications. Iranian authorities are shutting down the Internet to hide their crimes.
Right now, there is a crisis of impunity in Iran, and it has emboldened the Iranian authorities to kill hundreds of protesters and torture and ill-treat thousands more in recent years without fear of consequences. It is time for states engaging at the UN Human Rights Council to help tackle impunity for grave crimes in Iran.