Iran holds record on juvenile executions: UN report

Iran's execution of juveniles

United Nations Human Rights Council members have gathered to discuss the annual report of human rights violations at the 34th Human Rights Sessions in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to the report, in Iran executions are generally related to ‘petty’ crimes such as using narcotics. “Widespread torture, political imprisonment, lack of fair trial guarantees, harassment of ethnic and religious minorities, and severe restrictions on freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association continue to be documented daily,” the report highlighted.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has called on Iran to stop executing juvenile offenders documenting five cases in 2016. The report also stated that two more juvenile offenders were executed in 2017 ensuring Iran holds the ‘record’ for juvenile executions. Dozens of juveniles who were arrested in Iran for crimes committed before they turned 18 are on death row, despite recent reforms, said Amnesty International in a recent report.

It is expected that Iran will execute 78 other juvenile offenders, who were charged last year, in the next months. The report has also raised concerns about the implementation of death penalties in public spaces even in front of watching children.

Based on the observations of Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, the report also claims that Iranian authorities have been ordering amputations or blinding sentenced prisoners as well as lashing.

The lack of access to legal services was also specified in the report.

“Journalists, artists, ethnic minority advocates, student activists, human rights defenders, and defenders of women’s and children’s rights are among the individuals who are detained arbitrarily, in miserable conditions, and often without access to a lawyer, proper medical treatment, or family visitation – which is contrary to Iran’s own laws,” the report read.

Another matter in question was the ‘unjust’ measures against the non-Shia people of Iran.

“Members of the Sunni and Sufi Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Baha’i, Yarsan, and Zoroastrian religious minority communities face harassment by government officials and are disproportionately sentenced to harsher penalties by courts compared to members of the majority.  Members of the Baha’i community appear to be singled out for especially harsh treatment.”