Iranian NGO Writes To UN Official As Riot Police Fires On Protesters
On the fourth night of protests in Iran’s Khuzestan Province, Defenders of Human Rights Center sent a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, asking her to use all the means possible to prevent the use of force by Islamic Republic security forces against protesters.
In the letter, one of the oldest and most important Iranian human rights NGOs said that people of Khuzestan who began protesting peacefully according to article 27 of the Iranian constitution against government mismanagement were fired upon by security forces. Three people have so far been killed, several injured and many arrested, the letter said.
Protests began in the evening of July 15 in several cities in the oil-rich province where residents have been suffering from lack of water, long-running unemployment, pollution and discriminations. The protests have continued every evening, including on Sunday.
Videos received by Iran International show security forces deployed in force in Susangerd, a city of 120,000 people and firing continuously at protesters. A citizen who sent another video of the chaotic scenes, said special riot police fired tear gas and used heavy pepper spray injuring “many people”. He said there was no reason for the use of force.
The Defenders of Human Rights Center was established 20 years ago by attorneys defending political cases. One of its founders was Shirin Ebadi, a female attorney who later received the Nobel Peace Prize. Another prominent member, Narges Mohammadi has been persecuted, prosecuted, and jailed several times.
Appearing on Iran International television Sunday, Mohammadi said that the Islamic Republic does not want to be accountable for 42 years of misrule and uses lethal force when people peacefully protest. She called on all political groups to take a stand and condemn any use of force and violence against protesters.
Last month, in a statement to the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet said a report presented to the Secretary General found "a disturbing human rights landscape for Iranian women and men of every religious faith, ethnic origin, social class and other status." She added, "We regret that the framework for the right to political participation is not in line with international standards.”
Iran which has not allowed any UN human rights rapporteur to visit the country, rejects all criticism, either by alleging bias or unspecified political agendas.
A former member of parliament Parvaneh Salahshouri tweeted Sunday saying that it is not just the issue of Khuzestan. The government has not developed any part of the country. “What have you done with the country that after all these years of [your] management we should bear witness to the gradual death of the people.