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UN rights chief accuses Iran of targeting minority groups

i24NEWS - Reuters

clock 3 min read

Iranian boy, Hossein Ali, flies his kite in Adimi village in Hamoon wetland near the Zabol town in southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan bordering Afghanistan on February 2, 2015.
BEHROUZ MEHRI / AFPIranian boy, Hossein Ali, flies his kite in Adimi village in Hamoon wetland near the Zabol town in southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan bordering Afghanistan on February 2, 2015.

'Mass arrests and enforced disappearances have been reported, as well as increasing numbers of executions'

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Friday accused Iran of “persistent impunity for human rights violations” in regions including Sistan-Baluchestan.

“In Iran, an apparently coordinated campaign has been targeting minority groups since December, including in Sistan and Baluchestan, Khuzestan, and in the Kurdish provinces,” Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

Sistan-Baluchestan’s population is predominantly Sunni Muslim, while most Iranians are Shi’ite. 

“Mass arrests and enforced disappearances have been reported, as well as increasing numbers of executions, following deeply flawed processes,” Bachelet added.

There was no immediate official Iranian reaction to Bachelet’s allegations but Iran has repeatedly rejected similar criticism as being politically motivated and based on a lack of understanding of Tehran’s Islamic laws.

Amnesty International and three other human rights groups issued a statement protesting against Iran’s curbs on the Internet in areas hit by the unrest, which “authorities appear to be using as a tool to conceal gross human rights violations and possible ... extrajudicial killings.”

Also Friday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said it was investigating the fatal shootings of at least two Iranians this week at the border with Pakistan.

Monday’s shooting of at least two people carrying fuel across the border led to protests that spread across the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

Iran said the shooting occurred in Pakistan, but Pakistani border officials said protests broke out after Iranian forces fired at people involved in the illegal Iranian fuel trade.

“The body of at least one person was delivered by Pakistan’s border guards. We are reviewing the incident,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told Iranian media.

Protesters stormed a governor’s office in southeastern Iran on Tuesday and set fire to a police car, according to videos posted on social media. Security forces used tear gas to disperse the crowd. 

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