The UN human rights chief urged Iran on Tuesday to ensure that human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, writers, labor rights activists, artists, and environmentalists can engage in their activities safely and freely, without fear of reprisal.

At the 47th regular session of the Human Rights Council held on June 21-July 13, UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet presented a periodic report on Iran covering June 1, 2020-March 17, 2021.

The overall human rights situation in Iran “remains of serious concern,” says the report.

“In 2020, at least 267 people, including nine women, were executed — but only 91 of these executions were announced. So far in 2021, at least 95 people have been executed in Iran, six of them women,” said Bachelet, speaking in the council.

“Over 80 child offenders are on death row, with at least four at risk of imminent execution. There has been an increase in executions for drug-related crimes, particularly individuals from ethnic and religious minorities.”

Bachelet also noted that the use of inappropriate force by security forces against protesters and bystanders in November 2019 amounted to the worst incident of state violence at protests in decades.

“However, protesters, human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, and civil society actors continue to be subjected to intimidation, arbitrary detention, and criminal prosecution, including the death penalty,” said Bachelet.

“Overall, the report finds a disturbing human rights landscape for Iranian women and men of every religious faith, ethnic origin, social class, and other status. We regret that the framework for the right to political participation is not in line with international standards,” said the rights chief.

Iran’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Esmaeil Hamaneh said: “The US and its enablers, and those states that have been enforcing its unilateral, coercive measures must be held to account for the massive, systematic, and gross violations of human rights.”

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