A woman stands on a car and salutes the crowd gathering for the 40th day ceremony for Mahsa Amini, who died in Iranian police custody on September 16, 2022

Originally published by The Guardian:


The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, follows up the report of a UN fact-finding mission with an appeal to the Iranian leadership.


A UN fact-finding mission has found Iranian authorities responsible for the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2022.

Amini, 22, was seized and reportedly beaten by “morality police” when she was stopped in Tehran for “inappropriate attire”. She collapsed in a police detention center, fell into a coma, and passed away three days later.

Her death sparked the nationwide “Woman, Life, Freedom” challenging compulsory hijab and seeking rights, reforms, and justice.

Sara Hossain, the chairperson of the fact-finding mission, told the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, “Our investigation established that her death was unlawful and caused by physical violence in the custody of state authorities.”

Summarizing the mission’s reports, she said the protests were met by “egregious human rights violations”, including extra-judicial executions, arbitrary arrests, torture, rape and sexual violence, and ill treatment.

<"These acts were conducted in the context of a widespread and systematic attack against women and girls, and other persons expressing support for human rights," she emphasized.

See also Iran’s Security Forces Raped and Tortured Women’s Rights Protesters — Amnesty

“Some of these serious violations of human rights thus rose to the level of crimes against humanity,” Hossain noted, with women and girls in Iran confronted daily by discrimination “affecting virtually all aspects of their private and public lives”.

It is hard to fathom that in the 21st century, women’s access to the most basic service and opportunities, such as schools, universities, hospitals, and courts, or to opportunities for employment in government or other sectors, should be subjected to a wholly arbitrary requirement of wearing the mandatory hijab.

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, echoed the concerns about abuse and deprivation of rights, speaking of the “deeply concerning” impunity of authorities.

He noted Iran’s spiralling rate of executions, with hangings up 43% in 2023 to reach more than 800. He underlined that many of the executions follow trials that do not meet fair standards, especially those related to the Woman, Life, Freedom protests.

Iran’s representative Kazem Gharibabadi insisted that the Mission “lacked the minimum level of independence and impartiality”. He made no reference to the deaths, injuries, and deaths of protesters, speaking solely about “law enforcement forces who lost their lives”.

The statements of the Iranian delegation were rebuffed by Mercedeh Shahinkar and Kowsar Eftekhari, victims of violence by security forces.

“Their defense is an insult to us,” Shahinkar said. “We came here to defend human rights. Violations must be criticized regardless of location.”

Eftekhari added, “They prioritize political and economic interests over Iranian citizens’ oppression. They shouldn’t defend a government that commits crimes against humanity.”


The Iranian regime’s human rights violations during its brutal suppression of protests in 2022 amount to crimes against humanity, a UN fact-finding mission has said.

Established by the UN human rights council in November 2022 – two months after the Woman, Life, Freedom protests swept the country in response to the death in custody of Mahsa Amini – the FFM has released a report concluding the regime carried out widespread and sustained human rights violations against its own people, which broke international laws and specifically targeted women and girls.

Read The Full Report

The report also investigated and corroborated accounts published in the Guardian that female protesters had been specifically targeted because of their gender and were shot at close range in the face and genitals – actions the report cites as evidence of crimes committed by the state against the civilian population.

See also Iran’s Security Forces Are Firing at Faces and Genitalia of Female Protesters

The report states: “The mission has…established that many of the serious human rights violations…amount to crimes against humanity – specifically those of murder; imprisonment; torture; rape and other forms of sexual violence; persecution; enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts – that have been committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack directed against a civilian population, namely women, girls and others expressing support for human rights.”

See also Iran’s Security Forces Raped and Tortured Women’s Rights Protesters — Amnesty

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 500 people, including 68 children, were killed by security forces during the protests. It is estimated that more than 20,000 protesters were arrested.

The FFM team concluded that throughout the protests, the Iranian government “committed a series of extensive, sustained and continuing acts that individually constitute human rights violations directed against women, girls and persons expressing support for gender equality and the rights of women and girls and, cumulatively, constitute what the mission assesses to be gender persecution in the context of the protests and associated repr

ession of fundamental rights”.

The report said it had found that some of those arrested and detained by the authorities were subject to beatings and rape, electrocution, forced nudity and sexual assault, including on children.

It also found that LGBTQ+ people arrested during the protests had been subjected to violence and human rights violations. Iranian public officials were also found to have intentionally inflicted acts of torture to attain forced confessions from detainees.

The UN report called upon the Iranian authorities to “provide justice, truth and reparations to victims of human rights violations in connection with the protests that started on 16 September 2022, survivors and their families, in accordance with international human rights standards”.

“These acts form part of a widespread and systematic attack directed against the civilian population in Iran, namely against women, girls, boys and men who have demanded freedom, equality, dignity and accountability,” said Sara Hossain, chair of the FFM. “We urge the government to immediately halt the repression of those who have engaged in peaceful protests, in particular women and girls.”

The team is expected to present its findings, conclusions and recommendations in a detailed 400-page report to the UN in Geneva at the end of March.

The release of the report comes as the Iranian government continues to target the families of protesters and those killed during the demonstrations as well as journalists (in Iran and abroad), human rights activists, lawyers and doctors, say human rights groups.

According to Amnesty International’s latest report released this week, Iranian authorities have launched a draconian campaign to enforce the compulsory hijab laws on women and girls.

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and north Africa, said: “Iran’s authorities are terrorising women and girls by subjecting them to constant surveillance and policing, disrupting their daily lives and causing them immense mental distress. Their draconian tactics span from stopping female drivers on the road … to imposing inhumane flogging and prison sentences.”