Iranian Authorities Must Put an End to Violence against Peaceful Protesters across the Country: Statement of 46 NGOs
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
December 3, 2019
Starting on 15 November 2019, mass protests have erupted in Iran in response to a three-fold rise in petrol costs. Protesters have called for improved living conditions amidst high levels of corruption, unemployment, poverty and discrimination across the country. Some reports have indicated that protests have occurred in 500 locations in at least 120 cities in 28 provinces, including in Isfahan, Tehran, Shiraz and Tabriz – the largest scale in recent history. In response to the protests, Law Enforcement has responded with violence, with reportsindicating that as of 2 December 2019, at least 208 protesters have been killed; other sources fear the number of casualties might be higher.
These new protests come on the wave of increasing restrictions on civic space by Iranian authorities. In the context of an already repressed civic environment, authorities have in the past year targeted conservationists, civil society activists - especially labor union and teachers’ union activists - as well as human rights defenders, who have been wrongfully prosecuted for exercising their rights to freely assemble and form human rights associations.
Besides the impunity with which it functions in the face of human rights violations, authorities have deployed various tactics to silence protesters: based on citizens’ reports, the military and security forces have opened live ammunition on protesters and hundreds have been injured. Iranian officials have announcedthe arrest of over 7000 protesters. The government has warned protesters of the consequences of participating in such protests through text messages, including summoning protesters to security centres to provide details of their involvement in protests.
The Iranian government also shut down internet access during the protests, with reports indicating that up to 95% of Iranians were unable to access the internet, starting on 16 November until 21 November. As the intensity of the protests surge, Iranians can only access the national internet and websites approved by Council of Country Security. This means that monitoring the status of the protests is not possible for the international community, allowing for further impunity on the part of Law Enforcement.
In light of these restrictions, the undersigned organizations call on the Government of Iran to: