HRA Unveils Groundbreaking Report on Iran’s Use of Child Soldiers in Armed Conflicts

In a groundbreaking publication today, Human Rights Activists (HRA) has released an extensive report detailing Iran’s longstanding practice of recruiting the economically disadvantaged segments of society, including asylum seekers, immigrants, and using child soldiers in armed conflicts. The report particularly spotlights the exploitation of Afghan minors within the Fatemiyoun Division. This comprehensive investigation sheds light on a series of violations of international humanitarian law and international children’s rights, revealing the depth of Iran’s involvement in the recruitment, training, and deployment of children in combat zones.

The primary focus of this report, prepared by Spreading Justice (a database of human rights violators), the Pasdaran Documentation Initiative, and the HRANA news agency, is on the use of children—specifically individuals under 18 years of age—in war zones, who are predominantly of Afghan nationality and, to a lesser extent, Pakistani.

Click here to download the full report

Unmasking the Exploitation of Vulnerable Populations: The primary aim of this report is to unmask the systematic exploitation of vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on Afghan immigrants and minors, by Iran’s military and paramilitary forces. Through detailed accounts, testimonies, and evidence, HRA endeavors to bring to the forefront the realities of these practices that have long been shrouded in secrecy and obfuscation.

Promoting Transparency and Accountability: This report also aims to encourage transparency and accountability regarding the recruitment and use of child soldiers. By conducting a thorough analysis of Iran’s recruitment networks, training centers, and the roles played by various institutions and commanders, HRA seeks to ensure that those responsible for these violations are held accountable.

Encouraging International Action and Dialogue: This report aims to spur international action and dialogue on the urgent issue of child soldiers. It calls for a united global effort to address and mitigate the factors driving the recruitment of child soldiers, advocating for policy reforms and the implementation of protective measures in line with the principles of international humanitarian law and children’s rights.

Through this report, HRA not only highlights the grave injustices experienced by child soldiers but also provides a roadmap for change, urging all stakeholders to commit to protecting the most vulnerable in conflict zones.

HRA’s report is a comprehensive analysis that exposes Iran’s systematic recruitment and exploitation of child soldiers, particularly focusing on the use of Afghan minors within the ranks of the Fatemiyoun Division, a paramilitary group fighting in Syria under the auspices of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). This investigation is the result of meticulous research, including interviews with former child soldiers, analysis of recruitment tactics, and examination of the training and deployment processes.

Systematic Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers: The report exposes Iran’s long-standing practice of systematically recruiting child soldiers, a practice dating back to the Iran-Iraq War and persisting through its involvement in the Syrian conflict. It details how Iran targets vulnerable populations, particularly Afghan refugees and immigrants, many of whom are minors, coercing them into military service with promises of financial rewards or legal residency.

Violation of International Laws and Conventions: The HRA’s findings reveal Iran’s egregious violations of international law, encompassing both International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law. Despite its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which prohibits the use of children under 15 in hostilities, Iran has been documented recruiting children as young as 14. This flagrant disregard for international norms extends to Iran’s failure to adhere to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on child soldiers and Customary International Law. These actions highlight Iran’s blatant disregard for its international commitments and the urgent need for accountability.

Inadequate Training and Preparation: The investigation details the insufficient and hastily conducted training provided to these child soldiers and other recruits, often lasting only three to four weeks. The training primarily focuses on combat tactics rather than imparting a comprehensive understanding of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). This lack of proper training not only exposes these children to immense danger on the battlefield but also contravenes the principles of IHL, which Iran is obligated to teach its armed forces.

Exploitation and Coercion: The report exposes the exploitation and coercion inherent in Iran’s recruitment practices. Testimonies from former child soldiers and other former members reveal a troubling pattern of manipulation, where minors and individuals in precarious visa situations are coerced into combat roles under threats of violence or death. Promises of financial compensation and legal status made to them are consistently broken.

High Casualty Rates and Lack of Support: One of the most harrowing findings is the disproportionately high casualty rates among the Fatemiyoun Division’s child soldiers. Testimonies and data point to instances where a significant amount of child soldiers were deployed in combat operations with minimal support, resulting in significant loss of life and injury. Furthermore, the report criticizes the lack of adequate support for injured child soldiers and the families of those killed in action, highlighting a neglectful and dismissive attitude by the IRGC towards these individuals upon their return from Syria.

Call to Action: In light of these findings, the report urges immediate action from the international community, including the implementation of targeted human rights sanctions for human rights abusers, support from international organizations and non-governmental organizations working on the ground to protect vulnerable populations from recruitment. Emphasizing Iran’s duty to uphold international standards, the report urges Iran to immediately halt its recruitment of child soldiers and to initiate comprehensive measures for the rehabilitation and support of those already impacted by such egregious practices.

The report by HRA is not just a condemnation of Iran’s actions but a plea to safeguard the rights and well-being of children caught in conflicts. By shedding light on these issues, HRA seeks to catalyze global efforts to ensure that no child is coerced into bearing arms and that those who have suffered receive the support needed to rebuild their lives.

HRA report on the recruitment and use of child soldiers by Iran represents a significant accomplishment, prepared despite considerable security and information challenges. Conducting research in a context where access to reliable data is heavily restricted, and where subjects of investigation face significant risks, required innovative approaches and steadfast determination. The organization’s commitment to uncovering the truth led to the deployment of undercover investigations, extensive interviews with survivors, and collaboration with a network of local activists, all undertaken while ensuring the safety and anonymity of those involved.

The international community cannot afford to overlook the findings of this report. The documented violations have profound implications for global peace, security, and human rights. Addressing the use of child soldiers requires a concerted effort from nations worldwide to:

HRA urges all concerned individuals, organizations, and government entities to engage with this critical issue by reviewing the full report. By understanding the depth and severity of the violations against children in armed conflicts, collective work can be done to safeguard the rights of the vulnerable.

To access the comprehensive report and learn more about the findings and recommendations, please download the full PDF version by clicking on the image below. HRA encourages readers to contact us with any questions, insights, or support for our ongoing efforts to protect human rights worldwide.

The active involvement and support of individuals are instrumental in addressing the use of child soldiers and upholding human rights globally. Collaboratively, efforts aim to contribute to positive change, fostering a safer, more just world for future generations.

Annual Analytical and Statistical Report on Human Rights in Iran for the year 2023

In a comprehensive report spanning from January 1, 2023, to December 20, 2023, HRA has meticulously gathered, examined, and compiled 9,656 reports on the human rights situation. Set to be released in both summary and detailed formats, complete with charts and graphs, the report will provide in-depth analysis of the human rights landscape, including the imposing of over 33,335 months of imprisonment sentences for critics, the sentencing of citizens to 6,551 lashes despite international condemnation, and the execution of at least 746 individuals. This significant document serves as a detailed overview of the human rights conditions in Iran, backed by extensive statistical data.

Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA), through the dedicated efforts of its Department of Statistics and Publications, publishes its annual Gregorian calendar-based analytical and statistical report on the human rights situation in Iran for the one-year period (January 1, 2023, to December 20, 2023). This report is the culmination of the organization’s daily endeavors in recent years, forming part of a daily statistical project that began in 2009. It provides an analytical-statistical overview of human rights in Iran.

This annual report on human rights violations in Iran represents a synthesis of 9,656 human rights reports, gathered from 111 legal and news sources within the past calendar year. HRANA (Human Rights Activists News Agency) contributed 40% of the reports utilized in this publication, with 22% originating from official or government-affiliated Iranian sources, and the remaining 38% from other news or human rights sources.

In this 77-page report, various aspects such as women’s rights, workers’ rights, children’s rights, prisoners’ rights, etc., are briefly examined and statistically analyzed, accompanied by relevant charts for enhanced reader comprehension. According to this report, the focus of human rights monitoring in Iran, in comparison between the capital and other areas, remains unequal. This long-standing inequality shows that in the last year, reporting from non-central areas has decreased by 27% compared to the capital. This situation continues to indicate the lack of adequate monitoring of other areas of the country relative to the center by civil society.

Although this report predominantly reflects the extensive efforts of courageous human rights defenders in Iran, who bear significant costs in pursuit of their humanitarian ideals, it inevitably has limitations. These include restrictions on the activities of human rights organizations by the Iranian government and governmental impediments to the free flow of information. Consequently, while this report strives for accuracy, it cannot be considered entirely error-free or a complete reflection of the human rights situation in Iran. Nevertheless, it stands as one of the most precise, comprehensive, and well-documented reports on human rights violations in Iran, offering valuable insights for organizations and defenders of human rights to better understand the human rights situation in Iran, its challenges, and potential opportunities.


Full report is available for download in PDF format. Click here



To observe the extent of reporting by human rights organizations and media from different provinces of the country, which directly correlates with the capabilities of civil society, refer to the map below.

The highest number of reports were published in August, while the lowest number of reports published occurred in December.

40% of reports analyzed came from sources gathered and reported by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), while 22% came from official Iranian government sources or sources close to the government. 38% of reports came from other human rights news agencies.

In 2023, there were at least 2,021 instances of protest gatherings organized by citizen groups across all 31 provinces due to unmet demands and claims. Of these, 1,266 were union gatherings, 320 were workers’ rallies, 117 times involved citizens primarily known as market or stock market losers, 246 were related to the realm of thought and expression, 44 were student union gatherings, 8 were in the women’s sector, 11 were religious minority gatherings, and 9 were environmental gatherings. In addition to these gatherings, there were also 111 labor strikes, 32 union strikes, and 2 non-union strikes.

As indicated in the distribution map, there exists a major discrepancy between the capital Tehran, and other parts of the country in terms of the number of published reports. This is while the census of 2021 reported a population of 9,039,000 in Tehran, compared to a population of 75,016,000 in the rest of the country.

Statistics indicate that the focus or ability to report of the human rights reporters has been 20% in Tehran and 80% in the other parts of the country.

Categories of human rights violations based on the number of reports in 2023
To study categories of human rights violations in Iran, it is important to initially compare the categories based on the number of reports made in each category in the past year.


In the category of ethnic and nation rights in 2023, a total of 329 reports were recorded by the Department of Statistics and Publications of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA). According to these reports, 324 citizens were documented as being arrested, with 156 of these arrests occurring without a judicial warrant. Although the charges against 316 of the arrested individuals remain unclear, signs and past actions of the security institutions in the referred areas suggest that these arrests fall under the classification of ethnic rights violations. Furthermore, 19 individuals were sentenced to a total of 984 months of imprisonment, comprising 468 months of actual imprisonment and 516 months of suspended imprisonment. Additionally, 4 individuals were fined fifty-five million Iranian Rials. Also, 61 people were summoned to security-judicial institutions. Moreover, one individual was sentenced to 32 months of exile.
Apart from these, there were 16 court trials and 14 interrogations in security-judicial institutions, 10 instances of travel bans, 17 cases of assault, 20 house searches, 9 instances of civil registry offices opposing the naming and identity registration of children, and 6 instances of imprisonment sentences being carried out.
In the area of national minorities, the arrest of citizens increased by 44%, sentences of imprisonment based on the number of people tried by the judiciary rose by 58%, and the issuance of prison sentences compared to 2022 increased by 31%.
The monthly comparison of violations of ethnic-national rights, shows that the highest number of violations reports in this category were published in August, with the most significant decline in the number of reports observed in December.


In this category, in the past year, 211 reports were registered by the Department of Statistics of the Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA). According to these reports, 142 citizens were arrested, of which 15 arrests were made without a judicial warrant. Additionally, there were 57 summons to security and judicial institutions, and 1 case of educational deprivation. Also, there were 94 instances of house raids, 27 cases of economic activity obstruction, 2 instances of prevention of body burial, 17 cases of imprisonment execution, 23 travel bans, 5 instances of assault, 1 case of prevention of religious practices, 11 gatherings, 1 prevention of gathering, 72 trials, and 6 interrogations in security-judicial institutions recorded.

Notably, 115 individuals from religious minorities were sentenced by judicial institutions to a total of 5,113 months of imprisonment. This includes 5,059 months of actual imprisonment and 54 months of suspended imprisonment, with 1,837 months of these sentences being issued by appellate courts. Furthermore, 38 individuals were fined one billion and nine hundred and seven million Iranian Rials, and 17 individuals were deprived of social rights. A total of 50 lashes were executed on 1 individual. In addition, 1 person was sentenced to 24 months of exile.

In the realm of religious minorities, the arrest of citizens increased by 1.4%, and the issuance of prison sentences by the judiciary rose by 45%, with an overall 48% increase in prison sentences compared to the previous year.

The highest number of violations have been reported in November, while the lowest occurred in December.

In the category, 85.24% of human rights reports regarding violations against religious minorities related to violations against Baha’is, 10.87% to Sunnis, 1.94% to Yarsans, 1.17% to “Others”, 0.58% to Dervishes and 0.19% to Christians. Note that reports labeled as “Other” are those that did not belong to a specific group of religious minorities.


In the category of freedom of thought and expression in 2023, a total of 2,380 reports were registered by the Department of Statistics. Based on the analysis of these reports, 3,130 individuals were arrested, with at least 116 of these arrests made without a judicial warrant. There were 881 summons to judiciary and security authorities, 3 instances of publication bans, and 9 publications being declared criminal. Additionally, reports of trials of a total of 42 individuals in judicial institutions were published. Also, there were 116 instances of interrogations in security institutions, 79 travel bans, 87 imprisonment sentence executions, 85 house searches, 18 cases of communication disruption, 95 citizen beatings, 22 forced retirements, 58 dismissals and layoffs, 300 sealings of organizations and offices, 4 instances of speech or event disruptions, 1 execution of a whipping sentence, 246 gatherings, and 29 instances of gathering prevention in the area of thought and expression.

In 2023, for this domain, at least 25,124 months of prison sentences were issued for 556 individuals by judicial bodies. This includes 23,720 months of actual imprisonment and 1,404 months of suspended imprisonment. It is noteworthy that 3,190 months of these sentences were issued by appellate courts and 288 months by the Supreme Court. Moreover, 72 individuals were fined nine billion four hundred and fifty-four million Iranian Rials, 58 individuals received 3,381 lashes, 36 individuals were sentenced to 2,112 months of exile, and 48 individuals were deprived of social rights. Additionally, a total of 80 lashes were executed on 1 individual.

In the realm of thought and expression, reports of citizen arrests increased by 86%, and issuance of prison sentences by the judiciary increased by 68% compared to the previous year. However, there was a 21% decrease in the number of people tried.


In 2023, a total of 1,700 reports were registered by the Department of Statistics and Publications concerning the rights of trade unions and associations. From these reports, 31 trade union activists were arrested, including 1 arrest made without a judicial warrant. Additionally, there were 56 summons to judiciary-security institutions, 3,056 cases of closures of facilities, 28 trials in judicial institutions, 122 dismissals and layoffs, 124 forced retirements, at least 85 months of deferred wages, 12 travel bans, 1 suicide, 4 house searches, and 12 instances of imprisonment.

Furthermore, 53 individuals were sentenced to 1,230 months of imprisonment, including 1,212 months of actual imprisonment and 18 months of suspended imprisonment. Additionally, 562 months of these sentences were issued by appellate courts. Two individuals were sentenced to 24 months of exile, 74 lashes, and 13 individuals were deprived of social rights. Fines amounted to one billion, one hundred and twenty-seven million, seven hundred thousand Iranian Rials for 13 people, and 72 lashes for 1 person.

In 2023, there were at least 1,266 trade union protests, 4 instances of protest suppression, and 32 union strikes. These protests primarily related to wage demands, poor economic conditions, and ineffective management of government institutions. Reports in this domain showed an 89% decrease in arrests and a 112% increase in sentences issued by the judiciary compared to the previous year, with a 30% increase in prison sentences.

The highest number of rights violations in this area occurred in November, while the lowest was in January.


In 2023, the Department of Statistics and Publications of Human Rights Activists in Iran registered 416 reports related to academic rights violations. This total includes 14 instances of prevention of higher education. Additionally, at least 217 individuals were sentenced to 290 terms of suspension from studies. There were 13 summons to security-judicial institutions, 3,067 summons to university disciplinary committees, 11 expulsions from universities, 2 expulsions from dormitories, 10 student exiles, 23 interrogations in security-judicial institutions, and 44 student gatherings.

Regarding student rights, there were 3 cases of physical punishment and over 6,000 cases of poisoning. Last year, at least 929,798 students were unable to continue their education. Of these, 175,114 cases were in primary education, including 78,912 girls and 96,202 boys. In lower secondary education, 197,690 cases of dropout were recorded, encompassing 99,723 girls and 98,271 boys. Additionally, in upper secondary education, 556,994 cases of dropout existed, including 261,893 girls and 295,101 boys.

The monthly comparison of violations of basic rights in academic environments shows indicates that the highest number of rights violations in this area occurred in March, while the lowest number of reports was observed in December.


In 2023, the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists in Iran registered 640 reports concerning the right to life. This encompassed the sentencing of 155 individuals to death, including 4 sentenced to public execution, and the execution of 746 individuals. Out of these, 6 were carried out in public. Among the executed individuals whose genders were identified, 597 were male and 20 were female. Additionally, 2 juvenile offenders, defined as individuals under the age of 18 at the time of their alleged crimes, were also executed.

According to these reports, 56.43% of the executions were related to drug-related charges. Furthermore, 34.72% of the executions were for murder charges, 2.55% for sexual crimes, and 2.55% were executed with unknown charges. Additionally, 1.07% were executed on charges of Moharebeh (non-political), another 1.07% on charges of Moharebeh-Baghi (political-security), 0.94% for Corruption on Earth, 0.40% for ideological-political-religious reasons, 0.13% for security-related offenses (espionage, terrorism, bombing), and 0.13% for adultery and types of consensual sexual relations.

The execution of death sentences across Iran’s provinces in 2023, Alborz province with 19.97% of all the cases that is due to its two populated and important prisons., followed by Kerman ranking with 9.25% of all the death sentences issued,

Ghezel Hesar prison and Zahedan Prison held the highest number of death sentences.

Of those executed in 2023, 3% were female, and 80% were male, while the gender of the other 17% is unknown.

These executions are reported by independent sources and human rights associations, indicating that 66% of executions are carried out in secret or without any public notice.

Executions carried out in 2022 compared to 2021 increased by 88%. The number of death sentences issued increased by 8%.


In 2023, the Department of Statistics and Publication of Human Rights Activists in Iran recorded 17 reports related to violations of cultural rights. These reports included the arrest of 15 individuals and 10 cases of employment prohibition. Additionally, there was 1 instance of preventing the execution of a program or speech and 1 case of a judicial sentence being carried out. Moreover, 4 individuals were sentenced to 24 months of suspended imprisonment, with 12 months of these sentences issued by appellate courts.

In the realm of cultural rights, there was a 114% increase in citizen arrests compared to the previous year. The monthly comparison of cultural rights violations shows that the highest number of violation reports in this category occurred in August and September. The lowest number of reports was observed in January, March, November, and December.


The Department of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran registered 1056 reports of violations of workers’ rights in 2022. This included 53 arrests. 36 workers activists or workers were sentenced to 117 months

In 2023, a total of 1,085 reports were collected in the field of workers’ rights, according to statistical analyses by the Department of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran. Based on these reports, a total of 64 individuals were arrested, with at least one case of arrest without a judicial warrant recorded. Additionally, 29 labor activists or defenders of workers’ rights were sentenced to 654 months of imprisonment, which includes 568 months of actual imprisonment and 86 months of suspended imprisonment. Notably, 356 months of these sentences were issued by appellate courts. Moreover, 17 individuals were sentenced to a total of 1,258 lashes and fined forty-two million five hundred thousand Iranian Rials. Two individuals were also sentenced to 48 months of exile.

Furthermore, there were 19 summonses to judicial and security authorities, along with 43 court trials and 12 interrogations in security-judicial institutions, 4 worker suicides, 5 instances of assault, 2 travel bans, 1 house search, and 4 imprisonment executions.

In the fiscal year 2023, reports of delayed or unpaid wages to workers amounted to at least 943 months, 2,891 layoffs or dismissals, 3,409 instances of unemployment, 119 months of lack of work-related insurance for 1,764,016 workers, 5 factory closures, and 2,621 workers left in limbo regarding their employment status. Additionally, at least 1,252 individuals were killed in work-related accidents, and 4,018 cases of physical injuries to workers on the job were reported. Iran ranks 102nd globally in terms of workplace safety standards, which is considered a very low ranking.

The monthly comparison of violations of workers’ rights, shows that the highest number of rights violations reports in this domain were published in November, with the most significant decrease in reports occurring in March.

According to the reports gathered by the Department of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran, in 2023, 22.08% of work-related accidents were due to falls from heights, 21.67% were fire incidents, 11.04% were construction accidents, 8.13% were caused by hard object impacts, 7.50% occurred in factories, 7.08% were drilling (well) accidents, 6.25% were due to electrocution, 4.38% were traffic accidents, 4.17% happened in mines, 2.92% were gas poisonings, 2.50% occurred in petrochemical and refinery industries, 0.63% were agricultural accidents, 0.63% were poisonings, 0.63% were drownings, 0.21% were heat strokes, and 0.21% were avalanche falls.

In 2023, there were at least 320 worker protests, 1 instance of suppression of assembly, and 111 worker strikes. Most of these protests were related to wage demands. The reports indicate a 20% increase in the arrest of workers and a 19% decrease in the issuance of judicial sentences based on the number of people tried, compared to the previous year. Additionally, the issuance of prison sentences increased by 458% compared to the previous year.


In 2023, the Department of Statistics gathered 245 reports related to children’s rights violations. Due to the silence of families and governmental institutions, accurate statistics on child abuse cases are not available. However, at least 32 cases of rape and sexual abuse of children, 45 child murders, 6 cases of honor killings, 48 child suicides, and 35,000 instances of child labor were reported. In 2020, there were 56,343 registered marriages of individuals under 18 years old, which decreased significantly to 50,127 in 2021, indicating an 11% decrease in total child and adolescent marriages. The total number of divorces in this age group was 1,646 in 2020, increasing to 1,663 in 2021, reflecting about a 1% increase in child and adolescent divorces in Iran. Additionally, over 929,798 children were deprived of education in this year, an increase from 911,272 in the previous year. Many students in the country have been denied education due to lack of access to virtual learning facilities, early marriages, poverty, cultural issues, population dispersion, etc.

It’s noteworthy that this year, the Welfare Organization or relevant statistical authorities have not published data on child abuse. As mentioned in the execution section of this report, at least 2 juvenile offenders were executed in Iran last year. Precise statistics on the arrest of children are not available, but according to accessible reports, at least 130 individuals under 18 years old were detained by security institutions.

The monthly comparison of violations of children’s rights shows the highest number of violation reports in January and the lowest in December.


In 2023, a total of 363 reports were collected in the category of women’s rights, as per the Department of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran. These reports included at least 26 cases of rape and sexual assault, 82 instances of women’s murders, 28 cases of honor killings including 4 men, 1 case of self-immolation, 6 suicides, 7 acid attacks, 24 summonses to judicial and security institutions, 3,176 instances of improper hijab, 3 travel bans, 8 court trials, 1 house search, 8 gatherings related to women’s rights, and 9 instances of discrimination in social settings.

According to the report, 44 women were arrested for activities related to women’s rights. Additionally, at least 20 activists were sentenced to a total of 182 months of imprisonment and fined seventeen million six hundred thousand Iranian Rials. This includes 152 months of actual imprisonment and 30 months of suspended imprisonment, with 64 months of these sentences issued by appellate courts. Furthermore, 2 individuals were sentenced to 222 lashes.

The monthly comparison of violations of women’s rights, shows that the highest number of rights violation reports in this domain were published in April, with the most significant decrease in reports observed in December.


In 2023, a total of 1,386 reports of violations of prisoners’ rights were registered. These included 27 cases of physical assault on prisoners, 1,390 instances of denial or neglect of medical care, 342 illegal transfers to solitary confinement, 114 attempted hunger strikes, 415 cases of forced transfer or exile of prisoners, 4,140 instances of threats and pressure on prisoners, 66 cases of denying prisoner visitation rights, 34 cases of psychological and physical torture, 7 deaths due to illness, 12 suicides, 1 case of self-immolation, 4 murders of prisoners, 208 instances of lack of access to legal counsel, 4,197 reports of prisoners being kept in unsuitable conditions, 80 cases of forced confession, 290 instances of non-segregation of crimes, 78 denials of medical leave, and 101 denials of the right to contact.

Additionally, in the realm of detainee rights, 438 cases of uncertainty and 1,286 cases of indefinite detention were reported. Furthermore, a sentence of 40 lashes was executed on 1 individual in prison.

The monthly comparison of violations of prisoners’ rights shows indicates that the highest number of reports occurred in January, while the lowest number of reports was observed in March.


Death of civilians

In 2023, there were a total of 402 incidents involving civilians being shot by military forces. Out of these incidents, 120 civilians lost their lives, including 20 Kolbars (border carriers), 37 fuel carriers, and 63 other civilians. Additionally, 282 people were injured due to indiscriminate military fire, which comprised 228 Kolbars, 31 ordinary civilians, and 23 fuel carriers.
Furthermore, 9 Kolbars were affected by environmental factors such as extreme cold and falls from heights, resulting in 3 injuries and 6 deaths. Also, 11 fuel carriers were involved in accidents following pursuits by military forces, leading to 7 deaths and 4 injuries

Victims of landmines and explosions

The landmines left from the war threaten the lives of civilians living in border cities each year. The Iranian government continues to manufacture and plant anti-personnel mines against international agreements, arguing that the use of these type of landmines is the only effective way to keep its vast borders safe.

Based on reports, at least 4 civilians in the past year have lost their lives to landmines in border areas, while 9 other civilians have been injured.


The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) strictly prohibits inhuman or degrading punishments like flogging. However, in 2023, flogging sentences were executed for at least 6 accused, amounting to a total of 330 lashes. This includes 2 cases where the accused, previously sentenced to 160 lashes, were publicly flogged. Additionally, at least 125 individuals were sentenced to a total of 6,551 lashes by the Iranian judiciary.

Intervention in personal affairs of civilians

In 2023, at least 558 civilians were arrested for organizing or participating in private gatherings and parties.

Financial Loser Protests

In 2023, groups of citizens organized protests on at least 117 occasions. These individuals, primarily victims of financial and investment frauds, held protests in 31 provinces due to unmet demands and claims. The provinces of Tehran, Qazvin, and Hormozgan saw the highest number of these protests.

The monthly comparison of reports related to violence from security forces and citizens’ safety shows indicates that the highest number of reports occurred in November, while the lowest number was in March.


In the past year, the Iranian judiciary, encompassing both primary and appellate courts, issued a total of 33,335 months of imprisonment. The breakdown of these sentences across various categories is as follows: 984 months for ethnic minorities, 5,113 months for religious minorities, 25,124 months for freedom of expression, 1,230 months for trade unions, 654 months for workers, 182 months for women’s rights, 24 months for children’s rights, and 24 months for cultural rights. (It is important to note that these statistics only include sentences where specific details or information about the verdicts were made public.)

Additionally, these citizens were collectively fined eleven billion six hundred and three million and eight hundred thousand Iranian Rials and sentenced to a total of 6,551 lashes.

The monthly comparison of these convictions shows indicates that the highest number of reports was published in January, while the lowest number was observed in April.


In the past year, security forces in Iran arrested 4,472 citizens due to their engagement in civil, ideological, or political activities. The breakdown of these arrests across various categories is as follows: 31 arrests in trade unions, 324 in ethnic minorities, 142 in religious minorities, 3,130 in freedom of expression, 130 in children’s rights, 34 in environmental rights, 15 in cultural rights, and 64 in labor rights.

Additionally, 44 women were subjected to legal prosecution due to their activities and the promotion of their lifestyle choices. Furthermore, 558 citizens were arrested for organizing or participating in private gatherings.

The monthly comparison of these arrests shows indicates that the highest number of reports occurred in January, while the lowest number was in December.

In 2023, there was an overall decrease of 86% in the number of arrests related to civil activities compared to the previous year. However, the pattern varied significantly across different categories:

🔘 Ethnic Minorities: Arrests increased by 44%.

🔘 Cultural Sector: Arrests increased by 114%.

🔘 Religious Minorities: Arrests increased by 1.4%.

🔘 Trade Unions: Arrests decreased by 89%.

🔘 Women’s Rights: Arrests decreased by 86%.

🔘 Lifestyle-related Arrests: A significant increase of 771%.

🔘 Environmental Rights: Arrests increased by 47%.

🔘 Children’s Rights: Arrests decreased by 22%.

🔘 Workers’ Rights: Arrests increased by 20.04%.

🔘 Freedom of Expression: Arrests decreased by 86%.


In 2023, 340 reports were gathered related to environmental rights, leading to the arrest of 34 activists in this field. Out of these arrests, 3 were made without judicial warrants. Additionally, there was 1 summons to security institutions, 52 instances of failure to protect natural resources, at least 284 reports of various types of environmental pollution including air, surface water, and groundwater pollution, 21 cases of improper exploitation of natural resources, 813 instances of animal abuse, and 9 protests recorded.

It is also noteworthy that in the past year, 53 officers from the Natural Resources Protection Unit were involved in accidents. This includes 1 park ranger’s death, injuries to 21 environmental wardens, 1 park ranger, and 30 forest rangers.

In the environmental sector, there was a 47% increase in the arrest of citizens compared to the previous year.

Based on the number of reports per month, the highest number of reports in the environmental sector occurred in December, and the lowest in May


Prior to 2021, reports concerning the rights of sexual and gender minorities in Iran were processed under other categories in the annual reports of Human Rights Activists in Iran. The primary reason for this was the limited number of reports available in this area, which did not facilitate detailed analysis.

Creating an independent category, despite the small number of reports, signifies an effort to enhance the monitoring of the status of these community members. The rights of sexual and gender minorities in the country are systematically violated in various ways. Criminalization of same-sex relationships and non-recognition of transgender individuals’ gender identity prior to gender reassignment surgery are two examples. These violations occur irrespective of the blatant spreading of hatred against members of this community.

Cultural taboos, legal barriers, and the weakness of civil institutions in monitoring and reporting violations against them have become serious problems. The government’s policy towards sexual minorities in Iran has blurred the line between being a sexual minority and moral corruption, exacerbating the vulnerability and oppressive atmosphere for these individuals. In some instances, security and law enforcement agencies themselves admit to detaining and harassing members of this community. For example, in July of this year, an incident involving a person advocating for moral policing on the dress code of several transgender citizens in the Afsariyeh neighborhood of Tehran led to a confrontation and the arrest of 5 transgender individuals. Security-affiliated media published a video of the “forced confessions” of these five individuals. Contrary to popular belief, transgender citizens face legal issues in addition to cultural ones when changing their identification documents or obtaining exemption from mandatory military service. This situation arises from the pathologization of transgender identity in the laws of the National Conscription Organization, at a time when the World Health Organization, in its latest 2019 guidelines (ICD-11), classified transgender status under sexual health conditions, moving away from its previous classification as a disorder.


In a detailed and alarming report prepared by the Spreading Justice and the Human Rights Activists Statistics Center in Iran, a widespread pattern of human rights violations in Iran has been documented over a one-year period (from January 1, 2023, to December 20, 2023). The data, carefully categorized, emphasize the severity and extent of these violations across various sectors of the government.

From the perspective of their position in the power structure and the direct chain of command, the reports are divided among three main actors based on the available information: the Judiciary, the Executive, and the Leadership Authority.

Out of a total of 4399 reported cases gathered, there were identifiable officials or entities involved in the human rights violations related to the report. Among these reports, the Judiciary leads with 2654 cases, followed by the Executive with 1317 cases, and the Leadership with 428 cases.

For a better understanding, refer to the adjacent pie chart, which represents the distribution of human rights violations based on the number of reports in the last year.


In the collected reports that contained information about human rights violators, 668 legal entities (institutions) from various branches of the government were identified. The following list names the top ten institutions with the most human rights violation reports in the past year:

1- Ministry of Intelligence: 685 cases of human rights violation reports

2- FARAJA Intelligence Organization: 444 cases

3– Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps: 392 cases

4- Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court: 193 cases

5- Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court: 105 cases

6- Branch 15 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court: 101 cases

7- Cyber Police (FATA): 81 cases

8- Branch 36 of the Tehran Appeals Court: 80 cases

9- Evin Prosecutor’s Office: 75 cases

10- Branch 29 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court: 57 cases


Furthermore, 241 individuals (natural persons) have demonstrated behavior considered as direct human rights violations.

The top ten individuals, all affiliated with the Judiciary, who had the most human rights violation cases based on individual performance are as follows:

1 Iman Afshari– Position: Judge -Institution: Revolutionary Court – Affiliation: Judiciary – Place of Activity: Tehran – Number of Reported Cases: 142 cases
2 Abolghasem Salavati Position: Judge -Institution: Revolutionary Court – Affiliation: Judiciary – Place of Activity: Tehran – Number of Reported Cases: 80 cases
3 Mohammadreza Amouzad– Position: Judge -Institution: Revolutionary Court – Affiliation: Judiciary – Place of Activity: Tehran – Number of Reported Cases: 56 cases
4 Mohammad Moghiseh Position: Judge -Institution: Revolutionary Court – Affiliation: Judiciary – Place of Activity: Tehran – Number of Reported Cases: 49 cases
5 Seyed Ali Mazloum– Position: Judge -Institution: Revolutionary Court – Affiliation: Judiciary – Place of Activity: Tehran – Number of Reported Cases: 43 cases
6 Amin Vaziri Position: Deputy Prosecutor -Institution: Security Court – Affiliation: Judiciary – Place of Activity: Tehran – Number of Reported Cases: 31 cases
7 Seyed Ahmad Zargar– Position: Judge -Institution: Revolutionary Court – Affiliation: Judiciary – Place of Activity: Tehran – Number of Reported Cases: 27 cases
8 Hossein Saeedi Position: Judge -Institution: Revolutionary Court – Affiliation: Judiciary – Place of Activity: Sanandaj – Number of Reported Cases: 28 cases
9 Seyed Mahmoud Sadati– Position: Judge -Institution: Revolutionary Court – Affiliation: Judiciary – Place of Activity: Shiraz – Number of Reported Cases: 20 cases
10 Ali Sheikhloo– Position: Judge -Institution: Revolutionary Court – Affiliation: Judiciary – Place of Activity: Urmia – Number of Reported Cases: 18 cases

The legal and human rights implications of the documented cases indicate a systematic pattern of human rights violations at different levels of the Iranian government. The high number of cases attributed to judicial authorities, especially in revolutionary courts, raises serious concerns about justice and impartiality in the judicial process. Extensive intervention by intelligence and security organizations, including the Ministry of Intelligence and IRGC Intelligence Organization, reflects a coordinated approach to suppress opposition and control the population.

Prison management, especially in prominent centers like Evin and Rajai Shahr, shows disregard for the rights and welfare of prisoners. Individual accountability of high-ranking judicial officials like Iman Afshari questions the role of specific actors in perpetuating these violations.

For a better understanding of the published reports on human rights violations, refer to the following chart which categorizes them according to their affiliation in the division of powers.

This is the brief version and the full report is available for download in PDF format.


For more information please contact Skylar Thompson, Director of Global Advocacy and Accountability at Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) skylar[at]

Trial over murder of ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’ opens in Burkina Faso

(CNN) – The trial of 14 people accused of plotting to assassinate Burkina Faso’s former president Thomas Sankara started on Monday, more than 30 years after he was gunned down in one of the most infamous killings in modern African history.

Sankara – a charismatic Marxist revolutionary widely known as “Africa’s Che Guevara” – was killed in 1987 during a coup led by his former ally Blaise Compaore.

Compaore, the main defendant, was charged in absentia in April with complicity in the murder. He is living in exile in neighboring Ivory Coast and has always denied any involvement in Sankara’s death.
“It is a moment we have been waiting for,” Sankara’s widow, Mariam Sankara, told journalists as she arrived at the hearing.

She told the BBC earlier on Monday she was hoping the trial would shed light on the deaths of 12 other people on the day of the coup.

“It is important to all these families,” she said. “This trial is needed so that the culture of impunity and violence that still rages in many African countries, despite the democratic facade, stops indefinitely.”

Compaore’s former head of security, Hyacinthe Kafando, is also being tried in his absence. Twelve other defendants are due to appear in front of military tribunal in the Ouaga2000 conference center in Ouagadougou. They have pleaded not guilty.

More than 100 journalists from across the world packed into the conference center at the start of the hearing.
Thomas Sankara seized power in a 1983 coup at the age of 33 with promises to tackle corruption and the dominance of former colonial powers.

The former fighter pilot was one of the first African leaders to raise awareness about the growing AIDS epidemic. He publicly denounced the World Bank’s structural adjustment programs and banned female circumcision and polygamy.
Sankara won public support with his modest lifestyle, riding to work on a bicycle during his time as a minister and selling the government’s fleet of Mercedes vehicles when he was president.

But critics said his reforms curtailed freedoms and left ordinary people in the landlocked West African country little better off. Compaore had previously said that Sankara jeopardized foreign relations with former colonial power France, and with neighbor Ivory Coast.

Compaore moved to Ivory Coast after he was himself overthrown in 2014. His lawyers said on Friday that he would not attend the trial, and Ivory Coast has refused to extradite him.

Warlord found guilty of crimes against humanity in northern Uganda, a ‘significant milestone’ – Guterres

News UN – A former Ugandan warlord whose forces attacked camps for the internally displaced across the country, has been found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court, judges ruled on Thursday, a judgement described by the UN chief as a “significant milestone”.

The Court based in The Hague, Netherlands, found that Dominic Ongwen was “fully responsible” for multiple grave violations in northern Uganda in the early 2000s, as part of a longstanding armed insurgency dating back to the 1980s.

As a brigade commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Mr. Ongwen sanctioned the murder of large numbers of civilians, forced marriage, sexual slavery and the recruitment of child soldiers “to participate actively in hostilities”, among other grave crimes.

Attacks against civilians were justified by the reasoning that they were associated with the Government and were therefore the “enemy” of the insurgents, the ICC said in a statement, noting also that LRA soldiers were “under orders to shoot civilians in the chest and head to ensure that they died”.

According to the ICC verdict summary, “in response to the question whether shooting a civilian during the course of an attack would constitute an offence, Witness P-0142, an LRA fighter, stated that ‘nobody would see it as a crime if a civilian is injured or if a civilian is shot at’.”

Civilian targets

Those targeted “in particular” were those who lived in the many government-established camps for internally displaced people (IDP), according to the court, which examined evidence of attacks on four IDP sites: Pajule, on 10 October 2003, Odek (29 April 2004), Lukodi (on or about 19 May 2004) and Abok (8 June 2004).

Although the court noted that Mr. Ongwen suffered greatly after being abducted by the LRA as a nine-year-old child, it noted that he was being put on trial for crimes committed as a “fully responsible adult and as a commander of the LRA in his mid to late twenties”.

It was during the three-year period under review by the court from July 2002 until December 2005 that Mr. Ongwen rose from LRA battalion commander to head of the Sinia Brigade with the rank of brigadier, overseeing several hundred soldiers.

“The Chamber found that Dominic Ongwen is fully responsible for all these crimes,” the Court said. “The Chamber did not find evidence that supported the claim that he suffered from any mental disease or disorder during the period relevant to the charges, or that he committed these crimes under duress or under any threats.”

‘Systematic’ enrollment

Testimony from a LRA soldier identified as “Witness P0307” underscored the systematic practice of enrolling child soldiers: “Each time we came across young people, we would abduct them and take them to the bush. We had to do this as we had to increase our numbers in the bush. So, abducting new recruits was part of routine activities during attacks so that there was no need for any commander to order you to abduct because this was part of the job.”

In total, Mr. Ongwen, who is 45, was found guilty of a total of 61 crimes against humanity and war crimes between 1 July 2002 and 31 December 2005.

He faces up to 30 years in prison, although a life sentence can be handed down in exceptional circumstances. The ICC noted that following sentencing, discussions would begin on reparations for victims.

Over the course of 234 hearings from December 2016 to March 2020, the trial judges heard 109 witnesses and experts for the prosecution and 63 for the defence; representatives of victims called seven witnesses and experts.

An astonishing total of 4,095 victims were also represented in court.

Case a ‘significant milestone’ – UN chief

The Secretary-General António Guterres described the judgement as “a significant milestone in accountability and a step forward in efforts to bring justice to the victims of LRA crimes”.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson he said it also marked the first time that the crime of forced marriage has been considered by the ICC, highlighting the “critical need to eradicate sexual and gender-based violence.”

“The Secretary-General’s thoughts are with the victims of crimes against humanity and war crimes for which Mr. Ongwen has been found guilty”, the statement said.