UN rights chief urges Iran to halt death penalty for juvenile offenders

UN rights chief urges Iran to halt death penalty for juvenile offenders

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] on Friday urged [press release] Iran to abide by the international law and immediately halt all executions of people sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were under 18.

According to the UN, during the first month of 2018, three people have been executive for crimes they committed when they were 15 or 16 years old. This compares to the execution of a total of five juvenile offenders during all of 2017. Currently, a number of other juvenile offenders are also believed to be in danger of imminent execution in Iran, with a total of 80 individuals on death row for crimes they committed as a minor.

Zeid said, “The execution of juvenile offenders is unequivocally prohibited under international law, regardless of the circumstances and nature of the crime committed.”

The imposition of the death penalty on people who committed crimes under eighteen is a violation of Iran’s obligations under two international treaties, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Commissioner also noted that Iran ascribes criminal responsibility to girls as young as nine years old, whereas boys are not considered criminally responsible until they are 15 years old. He stated that the discrepancy between the two genders is as “wholly unjustifiable on every level,” and the application of the death penalty on any gender under eighteen is illegal and unacceptable.

Zeid asked Iran to “impose a moratorium on all executions with a view to ending the use of the death penalty altogether.”