UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday urged [press release] Iranian authorities to investigate all deaths and injuries stemming from the recent protests.
The mass protests began in late December in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city. Originally, protests were rallying against economic policies, but as the protests have spread throughout the country, the scope of the protests have expanded as well. Protests have turned violent at times, with multiple deaths and hundreds of arrests.
Zeid said Wednesday:
I am deeply disturbed by reports that more than 20 people, including an 11-year-old boy, have died and hundreds have been arrested during the recent wave of protests in Iran. The Iranian authorities must respect the rights of all demonstrators and detainees, including their right to life, and guarantee their safety and security. There must be thorough, independent and impartial investigations of all acts of violence that have taken place—and a concerted effort by the authorities to ensure that all security forces respond in a manner that is proportionate and strictly necessary, and fully in line with international law.
The high commissioner urged the release of all protesters who have been detained, calling them “a legitimate part of the political process.”
The protests are the largest since those following the 2009 presidential election [JURIST report]. Many protesters are expressing dissatisfaction with the theocratic regime and the rule of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.