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.

HRA welcomes FFMI findings of Gender Persecution in Iran

HRA welcomes the findings presented by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFMI) regarding serious human rights violations and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the civilian population, particularly women and girls, during the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests.

In particular, HRA welcomes the FFMI’s recognition of the crime against humanity of gender persecution. 

Download the full report

In December 2023, HRA with our partner, UpRights, submitted evidence and legal analysis on the crime against humanity of gender and political persecution urging the mission to recognize the commission of such crimes. 

The protests, sparked by the tragic death of Mahsa Zhina Amini in detention, were met with brutal force, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives and leaving numerous individuals with irreversible injuries. The disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by security forces against peaceful demonstrators represents a blatant disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Iranian people.

The documented violations, including extra-judicial killings, torture, rape, enforced disappearances, and gender persecution, underscore the urgent need for accountability and justice for the victims and survivors.

The comprehensive report by the FFMI emphasizes the the need for immediate action to address the systemic impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of human rights violations in Iran and crimes under International law. 

The government’s systematic denial of due process and fair trial, coupled with its continued repression of dissent and denial of basic rights, perpetuates a culture of impunity for violations dating back decades. 

HRA’s Spreading Justice Initiative (SJ) welcomes the FFMI’s dedication to documenting those responsible and conducting investigations into the identities of the direct perpetrators who committed, ordered, solicited, or induced the commission of violations. SJ believes this type of investigation is crucial.

HRA further welcomes the discussion on avenues for accountability outside the Islamic Republic of Iran and encourages Member States to explore avenues for international and domestic accountability as recommended in the report. 

Skylar Thompson, Director of Advocacy and Accountability, when speaking about the findings today, said “Recognizing crimes against humanity that have been committed paves a real path forward, opening the door to additional domestic and international accountability mechanisms. It also assures that victims know they are seen and heard. A failure to to recognize the gravity of crimes perpetrated by Iranian authorities in the context of the protests would have been a grave failure for the very women and girls who have suffered for so long. Instead, these findings offer a glimmer of hope. Now, it is absolutely essential that Member States ensure the mandate is extended alongside the Special Rapporteur.”

HRA looks forward to engaging with Member States, partners, and the FFMI throughout the session.

The State of Women’s Rights in Iran: Institutional and Individual Violations

The state of women’s rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran is a critical concern, marked by systemic and pervasive violations deeply rooted in both the legal and societal frameworks. This report seeks to unpack the complex landscape of gender-based discrimination, highlighting the institutional and individual practices that significantly undermine the autonomy, dignity, and freedoms of Iranian women. At the heart of these violations lies a legal system marred by gender inequality, with laws that span from the constitutional to the civil and penal codes, all of which collectively disadvantage women in critical areas of life such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and parental rights.

Further extending its scope which published by Spreading Justice, this investigation not only examines the legal codifications but also ventures into the public domain, where regulations on modesty, public conduct, and the mandatory hijab further restrict women’s rights. By exposing the specific roles and actions of key actors within the judiciary, law enforcement, and legislative arenas, this report aims to shed light on the systemic entrenchment of gender disparities. Through detailed analysis and case studies, it underscores the urgency of addressing these profound inequities.

The Judiciary Fails to Guarantee Women’s Rights

In the intricate landscape of Iran’s human rights challenges, the judiciary plays a pivotal role, oscillating between neglect and active suppression of women’s rights. This dynamic is glaringly apparent in the treatment of female prisoners, journalists, activists, and those defying the mandatory hijab regulations. Through both action and inaction, the judiciary not only deepens the suffering of these individuals but also signals a systemic incapacity to safeguard fundamental freedoms.

The Revolutionary Court of Rasht’s recent trial initiation against twelve women’s rights advocates is a testament to this ongoing repression. On February 29, 2024, the court began proceedings against Forough Saminia, Sara Jahani, Zahra Dadras, Yasamin Hashdari, Shiva Shah Sia, Negin Rezaie, Vahedeh Khoshsirat, Azadeh Chavoshian, Zohreh Dadras, Matin Yazdani, Hooman Taheri, and Jelveh Javaheri. Charged with “membership in a group, assembly, and collusion to act against national security” and similar accusations, these individuals’ experiences reflect the broader pattern of targeting activists to quell dissent. Their arrest during a mass detainment in Gilan Province and subsequent conditional release from Lakan Prison in Rasht underline the systematic approach to intimidating and silencing voices advocating for gender equality and human rights.

The case of Roya Heshmati, penalized for her protest against the compulsory hijab with seventy-four lashes, is a harrowing example of the judiciary’s overreach. This incident, dated January 3, 2024, is a grim marker of the severe penalties imposed for perceived non-compliance with state mandates, reflecting a profound disregard for human dignity and freedom. In a text circulating social media, Roya Heshmati recalls the harrowing ordeal, “The judge said not to hit too hard. The man began to hit. My shoulders. My upper arms. My back. My buttocks. My thighs. My calves. Again, from the beginning. I didn’t count the number of strikes. Under my breath, I was chanting for the name of woman, for the name of life, the garment of servitude was torn, our dark night shall turn into dawn, all the whips shall turn into axes.”

Adding to this narrative of repression is the collective sentencing of Maryam Bani-Razi Motlagh, Abdolbagher Amani, Reza Rashidi, and Mohammadreza Rostami by Branch 116 of the Criminal Court in Qom. Their conviction to over 17 months in prison, 148 lashes, and additional penalties for not adhering to the “mandatory hijab” and allegedly hindering the state’s moral policing further exemplifies the judiciary’s stringent enforcement of conservative norms. Presided over by Judge Hossein Soltani, these sentences manifest the judiciary’s commitment to maintaining strict social control through corporal punishment and incarceration, actions that clearly violate international human rights norms.

This oppressive environment extends to the realm of journalism, where female journalists are increasingly targeted, pressured, and arrested. Among them, Niloufar Hamedi and Elaheh Mohammadi, sentenced by infamous Judge Salavati to 13 and 12 years respectively, and Vida Rabani, who received a 6-year and 15-month sentence from Judge Iman Afshari, showcase the severe repercussions for their reporting. Additionally, Saba Azarpeik faced a sentence of 2 years in prison and a 2-year ban from social media activities. The cases of Saeedeh Shafiee and Nasim Soltanbeigi further illuminate the judiciary’s harsh stance, as both were sentenced by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court, led by Judge Iman Afshari, to four years and three months in prison. Their sentences included charges of “propaganda against the system” and “assembly and collusion,” with additional restrictions on their freedom to engage in political and social groups and to travel abroad. These instances reflect a broader pattern of the judiciary targeting female journalists, intending to suppress dissent and control the flow of information within Iran.

The above examples highlight the judiciary’s complicity in fostering a climate of fear and repression, particularly against women challenging compulsory hijab laws and advocating for broader freedoms. The actions of judges like Iman Afshari, Abolqasem Salavati, Hossein Soltani, and others, who have imposed heavy sentences on female journalists, activists, and protestors, actively suppress dissent, limit freedom of expression, and encroach on civil liberties, reflecting a pattern of judicial conduct in Iran marked by indifference to prison abuses and a concerted crackdown on female dissent. This underscores a disturbing erosion of basic human rights and freedoms, highlighting a clear contradiction with the Executive Regulations of the Prisons Organization.

List of violators related to this section:

▪️Abolqasem Salavati:the head of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran
▪️Iman Afshari:head of Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran
▪️Hossein Soltani:The head of the 116th branch of the criminal court NO.2 of Qom
▪️Mohammad-Reza Amouzad:the head and judge of 28th Branch of the Tehran Islamic Revolution Court

Violation of Women’s Rights within Iranian Prisons

1- Deplorable Conditions in Women’s Prisons

One illustration of the erosion of women’s rights in Iran is the conditions within the women’s prisons. Officials at the Amol prison have obstructed the delivery of many donated books to inmates, depriving them of educational and recreational resources. This situation is exacerbated by lacking amenities like libraries and entertainment facilities, such as movie players, which have not been made available to the inmates despite donations and repeated requests. This deprivation seems to stem from the behavior of prison officials and actions contrary to the directives of the Prison Organization.

2-Physical Abuse and Medical Neglect

The experience of female political prisoners in Iran paints a distressing picture of widespread abuse and neglect. Instances like that of Narges Mohammadi, who was reportedly assaulted by an official at Evin Prison‘s infirmary in September 2023 for not wearing the mandatory hijab, are not isolated. Such incidents reveal the harsh realities faced by women behind bars, especially those imprisoned for their political beliefs. Mohammadi’s ordeal began simply because she was assisting a sick fellow inmate, yet it escalated into a physical confrontation over her non-compliance with the hijab rule, as reported by HRANA. This is emblematic of the broader challenges and risks women encounter in Iran’s prisons, where adherence to strict dress codes is enforced with little regard for personal dignity or safety.

Similarly, a year prior, in the women’s ward of the Kermanshah Rehabilitation Center, the situation was no less grim. Prisoners, including Ms. Soheila Hijab, endured severe beatings at the hands of prison guards. Beyond physical abuse, these women often face medical neglect, exacerbating health complications that arise during their detention or because of prolonged incarceration. This neglect starkly violates basic human rights, underscoring a systemic disregard for the welfare of female prisoners.

Such incidents are indicative of the broader issues within Iranian penal institutions, particularly in the treatment of political detainees and the rigid enforcement of dress codes. They also highlight the ongoing struggle against compulsory hijab laws, reflecting the broader societal challenges women face, including those incarcerated, in resisting oppressive mandates.

3- Punitive Measures Against Protesting Inmates

Female prisoners, especially those who dare to protest the inhumane conditions, face punitive measures. These include but are not limited to, solitary confinement, false allegations resulting in new cases, denial of family visits, and even exile to other prisons. For example, following protests in Evin Prison, restrictions on a group of people, have been imposed, severely limiting prisoners involved the rights to make phone calls or receive family visits.

4- An increasing number of executions including of female prisoners

According To the Annual Report of Human Rights Activists (HRA), In 2023, at least 20 women were executed in Iran. One of the cases that caught media attention was the execution of Samira Sabzian Fard. Samira, a woman whose entire life was marred by the inexcusable discrimination faced simply for being a woman in Iran was a victim of child marriage, and domestic brutality, and ultimately, she was sentenced to death, and her life was taken by the state.

5- Transgender and Queer Women’s Experiences in Prison

Transgender women often experience segregation in prisons and despite legally changing their identification to align with their gender identity, transgender women face unique challenges and discrimination within the prison system. Additionally, queer women are scrutinized and stigmatized because of their sexuality. The experiences of transgender and queer women in facilities such as Qarchak and Lakan women’s wards highlight the urgent need for prison reforms to address these injustices and ensure the protection of all inmates’ rights, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. These practices not only violate the principles of dignity and equality enshrined in international human rights treaties but also highlight the critical gaps in protection and respect for LGBTQ+ rights within the Iranian judicial and penal systems.

List of violators related to this section:

▪️ State prison and security and corrective measures organization
▪️ Allah Karam Azizi:
the current head of Ghezel Hesar prison.
▪️ Edris Abdi: the current head of Kermanshah Juvenile Detention center
▪️ Hedayat Farzadi:the current head of Evin Prison
▪️ Soghra Khodadai:the head of Qarchak prison
▪️ Mahmoud Torabi:
The head of Rasht Central Prison (Lakan Prison)

Legislation Affecting Women’s Rights

Recent legislation in Iran, ostensibly designed to boost the country’s population, cast a long shadow over the rights and autonomy of women. At the heart of these measures is a draft revision of the Penal Code that significantly escalates the penalties associated with abortion, revealing a concerted effort by the government to exert control over women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. This proposed legislation not only seeks to criminalize abortion under a broader range of circumstances but also extends its punitive reach to encompass a wide array of individuals and activities related to the provision of abortion services.

Under the new draft Penal Code, the act of performing an abortion, facilitating the process, or even disseminating information about how to obtain one could result in severe legal consequences. Healthcare professionals, including doctors, midwives, and pharmacists, who are found to assist in the abortion process, could face not only imprisonment but also the revocation of their professional licenses. This aspect of the legislation places a significant burden on medical practitioners, forcing them to navigate the perilous waters between upholding their ethical obligations to provide care and avoiding legal prosecution.

Moreover, the legislation introduces penalties for those who engage in the dissemination of abortion information, targeting educators, activists, and possibly even individuals who share such information in private communications. This move effectively seeks to erase abortion from the public discourse, stifling debate and denying women access to critical information about their reproductive health options.

The implications of this legislative push are profound. By criminalizing abortion and penalizing those who support women’s reproductive choices, the government is not only infringing on women’s rights to make decisions about their bodies but also potentially endangering their health. Women seeking to avoid legal repercussions may turn to unsafe methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies, increasing the risk of complications, injury, or death.

Furthermore, this legislative approach reflects a broader attempt to control and dictate the terms of women’s existence and roles within society, reinforcing traditional gender norms and expectations. It disregards the complex realities of women’s lives, their health, socio-economic conditions, and their right to choose whether and when to have children.

The draft Penal Code’s severe restrictions on abortion in Iran implicate a wide array of governmental bodies and officials in the systemic violation of women’s rights, spanning from the legislative branches responsible for drafting and passing such repressive laws to the judiciary that enforces them through punitive measures against women and healthcare providers.

Lawmakers and legislators are directly accountable for creating laws that infringe on women’s autonomy, while judges and the judiciary uphold these laws, effectively sanctioning the suppression of women’s reproductive rights. The executive branch, including various government officials and policymakers, oversees the implementation and enforcement of these restrictions, further embedding the control over women’s bodies within the state’s legal and social fabric. Law enforcement agencies are the operational arms that execute these policies, arresting and detaining those who seek or provide abortions. Additionally, healthcare regulatory bodies exert control by penalizing medical professionals involved in abortion care, thereby restricting access to safe medical procedures. Together, these entities form a comprehensive network of control that not only restricts women’s rights to make decisions regarding their bodies but also places them at greater risk, underscoring a deep-seated violation of human rights and dignity within the framework of Iranian law and governance.

List of violators related to this section:

▪️ Amir-Hossein Bankipour Fard:the representative of the people of Isfahan in the 11th Islamic Consultative
▪️ Zohre Elahian:the representative of the people of Tehran in the 11th Islamic Consultative
▪️ Hossein Mirzaei:the representative of the people of Isfahan in the 11th Islamic Consultative

Violation of Women’s Rights by the Police and IRGC

The Morality Police, alongside the police forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), tasked with upholding Islamic dress codes and moral standards, have employed measures that often escalate into rights violations, including harassment, arbitrary detention, and physical abuse against women.

A notable example of this enforcement is the action taken by Hojjatollah Salari, the commander of the Seyyed al-Shohada IRGC of Hormuz. On May 3, 2023, Salar announced the confiscation of 20 electric motorcycles due to hijab violations as part of the chastity and hijab plan. This operation, aimed at addressing what was described as “the unveiling of drivers and passengers,” underscores the lengths to which the IRGC will go to enforce dress code violations, extending its reach to the confiscation of personal property.

Further exemplifying the aggressive stance on dress code enforcement, the IRGC of Hormuz Island, under Salar’s command, initiated the “Hijab and Chastity” exercise on May 8, 2023. This exercise, conducted in collaboration with local religious and Basij resistance bases, was explicitly designed to combat perceived instances of “improper hijab,” highlighting the comprehensive nature of these campaigns to regulate women’s attire and behavior in public spaces.

The repercussions of these enforcement actions were further amplified on December 24, 2023, when the a security order led to the arrest of 90 people and the issuance of verbal warnings to 380 women for “unveiling” on the beaches of Hormuz Island. The operation also resulted in confiscating personal items and sealing commercial units, illustrating the extensive measures employed to enforce moral codes.

List of violators related to this section:

▪️Moral Security Police 
▪️Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) 

Violations Against LGBTQ+ Individuals

The rights of transgender individuals in Iran face severe compromises, as evidenced by reported incidents that highlight the broader pattern of human rights abuses against the LGBTQ+ community. There have been reports of coerced confessions, where individuals are pressured into admitting guilt or making statements against their will, as example Suspicious Telegram channels such as Saberian News published forced confessions of Transgender arrestees, SJ is investigating such channels close to the security apparatus. Such practices, often carried out under duress, undermine the justice system’s integrity, and blatantly violate the rights of those involved, casting a long shadow over their dignity, and exposing them to unwarranted public scrutiny and further discrimination.

Interactions with Morality Police frequently lead to the arrest or violent confrontations for transgender individuals, targeted for their appearance or identity in the enforcement of strict moral and dress codes. This aggressive oversight not only infringes upon their rights to self-expression and identity but also subjects them to potential violence and legal consequences, underscoring a punitive approach to moral regulation.

Moreover, the reluctance or outright refusal of law enforcement to file complaints from transgender victims of violence represents a significant barrier to justice. This denial not only exacerbates the victims’ plight but also signals a troubling indifference towards the safety and rights of transgender individuals, perpetuating a cycle of violence and impunity for aggressors.

Adding to this complexity, LGBTQ+ women, in particular, face added pressure following their arrest by security forces. Their sexual orientation is exploited as a tool to coerce confessions, with threats of legal prosecution and the exposure of their sexuality to their families. This unwanted and involuntary outing not only intensifies the pressure on them but also poses risks to their health and lives. The situation was particularly evident during the protests of 2022, highlighting the extreme dangers faced by those whose identities intersect with multiple marginalized statuses. Such practices paint a stark picture of a legal and social environment marked by discrimination, where the basic human rights and protections that should be universally afforded are systematically denied to the transgender community.


This report illuminates the profound and systemic nature of gender inequality in Iran, highlighting how a combination of legal and institutional frameworks, reinforced by specific actors across judiciary, legislative, and law enforcement domains, systematically undermines women’s rights. These entities have been identified as key contributors to a pervasive culture of discrimination and suppression against women.

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

HRA: Looking back on 2023

Reflecting on 2023, Iran has faced significant human rights challenges. Despite these difficulties, it has also been a year marked by unwavering determination and resilience in the pursuit of justice and accountability. The year began with the country – from North to South, East to West – embroiled in protest over the death in detention of Mahsa Zhina Amini. Throughout the year, grave human rights issues persisted, encompassing restrictions on freedom of speech, continued and grave violations of women’s rights, limitations on political participation, arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, and the ongoing mistreatment of prisoners. Various minority groups, including ethnic, religious, sexual, and gender minorities, continued to endure harassment and discrimination at the hands of Iranian authories. Despite these challenges, the efforts of local human rights activists, civil society organizations, and individuals dedicated to upholding human rights in Iran were remarkable. Notably, just this week, Sweden upheld a groundbreaking sentence against Hamid Noury, a landmark case against a former Iranian official complicit in the 1988 prison massacre. The week before that, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to activist, Nagres Mohammadi. These notable successes highlight a larger global trend towards a dedication to closing the accountability gap in Iran. HRA remains steadfast in aiding in that effort while shedding light on injustices through continually documenting and preserving evidence and publishing our findings, advocating for change through direct engagement with policymakers, and providing support to victims and their families on a daily basis. The following is a brief, in no way exhaustive, overview of our efforts in that regard. 

United Nations Advocacy 

HRA’s continued engagement with a vast array of United Nations human rights mechanisms demonstrates a committed effort to document human rights violations and provide expert guidance crucial to aiding UN experts in their assessments and recommendations to address violations. 

HRA participated in all regular sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, briefed Member States on the situation of human rights in Iran, participated in side events on the situation of women’s rights in Iran, continually provided information to special procedures mandate holders via bilateral consultations virtually and in Geneva and through official submissions, prepared several submissions for the Human Rights Committee (HRC) review of Iran under the ICCPR, held regular consultation with United Nations Fact Finding Mission investigators, provided oral interventions at the 139th Session of the Human Rights Committee’s review of Iran, and co-sponsored a side event on the anniversary of the death of Mahsa Zhina Amini in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York.  In addition, HRA filed official findings of crimes against humanity to the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Iran.  We continue to advocate for the renewal and expansion of this mandate with Member States given the ongoing and widespread, systematic nature of crimes taking place in Iran with absolute impunity. 

HRA’s engagement at the United Nations in both New York and Geneva continues to play a pivotal role as a platform for advocacy, fostering substantive dialogues with policymakers, politicians, and all relevant global stakeholders. 

Making the case for the continued use of targeted human rights sanctions

Magnitsky-style sanctions regimes continued to be effective in targeting human rights abuses and corruption in Iran. These sanctions focus on freezing assets and imposing travel restrictions on individuals involved in serious human rights violations. HRA has monitored over 135 designations of Iranian perpetrators across the EU, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. A number of these individuals were investigated and documented by HRA’s Spreading Justice initiative. HRA finds it crucial to maintain an ongoing focus on those who violate human rights, holding them responsible for their actions. Coordinated action across diverse jurisdictions remains an essential strategy in ensuring accountability for these violations. By uniting their efforts and leveraging the strength of multilateral collaboration, a clear message is sent  that impunity will not be tolerated. 

HRA also participated in discussions with victims about how Iranians perceive the targeted human rights sanctions handed down by western states. In a Conversation with HRA, one political prisoner expressed what the sanctions met for them  ‘It’s a ray of hope for people like me who suffer under their reign. It may not change things overnight, but it shows us that the world hasn’t turned a blind eye’ and  ‘It’s like a breath of fresh air, knowing that these violations are seen and acted upon, even if it’s not from within our own country’

HRA maintains an active role in collaboration and information sharing with various State, multinational, and civil society organizations. The organization contributes valuable insights including but not limited to, shedding light on Iran’s morality police, law enforcement forces, and key figures within the security, judicial, diplomatic, and government spheres. This information exchange extends beyond direct exchanges to encompass other organizations and governments, demonstrating a commitment to collective efforts in addressing human rights concerns. HRA welcomes the achievements made in this regard over the past year and looks forward to the continued use of these tools in the years to come. 

Member States

The European Union and its Member States played a leading role in 2023 shedding light on the widespread and systematic abuse taking place in the Islamic Republic. Indeed, in Brussels just this past month, the EU awarded Mahsa Zhina Amini the honorable Sakharov Prize.

HRA engaged with the EU on numerous occasions meeting and speaking in Parliament to discuss the European Union’s policy on Iran and how changes in policy can help to protect victims of abuse, and sustain pressure on perpetrators. HRA continued to stress the importance of accountability and the role the EU can play in that regard.

In Berlin, HRA met with Parliamentarians to advocate for the renewal of the FFMI and to encourage continued pressure on perpetrators through the use of targeted human rights sanctions regimes, stressing the impact those regimes have on the ground through first-hand accounts.

Similarly, in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, HRA welcomed consistent pressure throughout the year against perpetrators of abuse , most recently for those involved with the drafting of the highly contentious Hijab Bill. HRA is thankful to all of the named jurisdictions for consistently seeking out information to hold perpetrators accountable and for taking on civil society recommendations that signal greater impact when packages are implemented in a coordinated manner. 

The Anniversary of the Death of Mahsa Zhina Amini and the outbreak of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” Protests

In October 2023, marking a year since the Woman, Life, Freedom protests, HRA and Outright International co-hosted a side event during the 78th United Nations General Assembly titled “One Year of ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’: The Ongoing Persecution of Minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The event addressed the ongoing human rights situation in Iran. The Director of Global Advocacy and Accountability presented key areas for urgent international action, emphasizing the need for continued support for UN-led investigations, international pathways to justice, and united condemnation against human rights violations and breaches of international law.

In parallel, HRA published a report focusing on the Humiliating and Disproportionate Sentences against Iranian Women. This report highlighted the extreme measures taken by the Iranian judiciary, including sentencing women to psychiatric treatments and compelling them to perform demeaning tasks in a morgue for non-compliance with Hijab laws.

HRA published a comprehensive report on Iran’s controversial so-called Hijab bill or the “Bill to Support the Family by Promoting the Culture of Chastity and Hijab.” This report highlighted draconian measures primarily affecting women, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death. It also explored the roles of the Basij and Student Basij, emphasizing their central role in suppressing women’s freedoms under the hijab law.

The Basij and Student Basij, paramilitary forces in Iran, actively suppressed protests in 2022 and 2023. The Basij, under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), played a significant role in suppressing the Woman, Life, Freedom protests. The Student Basij, officially under the IRGC’s command, were involved in espionage and state-sanctioned repressive actions against student movements. HRA closely monitored 2,500 active Basij members and 650 student Basij members and published a comprehensive analysis of activities while sharing those names with our trusted partners recommending action. HRA’s Director of Global Advocacy and Accountability finally took part in a side event titled “A Year of the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement,” hosted by IHRDC at the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. During this event, she explored the wide-ranging implications of Iran’s new Hijab and Chastity Bill, with particular emphasis on the grave concerns surrounding the expanded authority granted to the Basij forces throughout the country.

Crimes Against Humanity: Gender and Political Persecution

On December 12, 2023, HRA with the legal support of Uprights, submitted a joint 60-page submission to the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Iran (FFMI). The submission argued that the facts provided by HRA and two partner organizations should lead the FFMI to conclude that crimes against humanity, and in particular persecution on political and gender grounds have been committed by Iran since at least September 16, 2022.

In addition to the submission, HRA provided a set of recommendations outlining the basis of the argument and the need for renewal and expansion of the mandate.  HRA strongly recommended that the FFMI acknowledges the potential commission of crimes against humanity, specifically persecution on political and gender grounds, in the Islamic Republic of Iran since at least 16 September 2022, particularly concerning the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests. HRA suggested incorporating these findings as a crucial part of the FFMI’s report to the HRC in March 2024, emphasizing the targeted persecution of women, girls, and LGBTQI+ individuals by Iranian authorities and security forces. Additionally, HRA encouraged the FFMI to conduct in-depth analysis on the involvement of men and boys in the protests, considering the intent of perpetrators and applying a gender lens to this investigation. Despite challenges in documenting violations, HRA urged an ongoing investigation into alleged violations against LGBTQI+ individuals, emphasizing their existence and contributing to the discriminatory intent.

Regarding documentation and accountability, HRA highlighted that international crimes committed by Iranian authorities extend beyond state responsibility under human rights law. While not focusing on individual conduct, HRA suggested that the FFMI’s March 2024 report should include a section addressing the lack of accountability for widespread violations since 16 September 2022. It emphasized the need for redress and justice, particularly for women, girls, and LGBTQI+ victims. Given the FFMI’s mandate to collect and preserve potential evidence, HRA recommended cooperation with legal proceedings, investigators, prosecutors, and relevant jurisdictions to build cases against alleged Iranian perpetrators globally, closing the accountability gap. Considering uncertainty about the FFMI’s mandate beyond March 2024, HRA advised ongoing information submissions and communication with civil society documenting violations to maintain the FFMI’s mandate relevance.

In light of the sustained human rights violations during the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests in Iran until the end of 2023, it is crucial for Member States to commit to extending the FFMI mandate beyond March 2024, providing the necessary time and resources for comprehensive documentation. Additionally, at the Human Rights Council, consideration should be given to broadening the FFMI’s mandate to encompass violations predating the current temporal scope. This expansion would facilitate a thorough analysis of structural issues and historical contexts, addressing not only current violations but also the widening accountability gap. It would empower investigators to examine individual responsibility for serious violations within the framework of international law.

Looking Ahead As we conclude this significant year, HRA remains dedicated to advancing human rights in Iran. HRA is grateful to our partners for ensuring the work is as impactful as possible–we anticipate continued collaboration, heightened awareness, and sustained advocacy to promote justice and equality for every Iranian in the years to come.

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

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]

Telegram’s Dual Role in Iran: A Platform for IRGC’s Propaganda and Intimidation Tactics

First they banned Telegram now Iran’s IRGC is using it to spread misinformation and intimidate victims

Telegram, founded in 2013, is an encrypted, cloud-based, and cross platform instant messaging service. It allows for the exchange of messages, both privately and in groups. Furthermore, it allows for voice and video calls and live streaming. It also contains some social networking features, allowings its users to post stories, create groups of 200,000 members and create channels. According to official sources Telegram has 55.2 million daily active users and 700 million active users per month. It is the most widely used messaging application in Iran. 

HRA has monitored the official activity of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the Telegram platform between October and December 2023. HRA’s investigation into the IRGC’s use of Telegram has revealed a disturbing trend of the widespread dissemination of misinformation, the harassment of victims, namely of human rights defenders, journalists, political activists, and their families. There is additionally an alarming pattern of the broadcasting of coerced forced confessions that amount to torture under international law. 

Alarmingly, there is no comprehensive set of community guidelines banning the use of the platform by groups known to engage in said behaviors. Telegram’s terms of service lack explicit and detailed provisions pertaining to hate speech. Within its rather vague terms users are not permitted to ‘Promote violence on publicly viewable Telegram channels, bots, etc.’ Durov, the CEO and founder of Telegram, has provided additional clarification on the matter, affirming that the guidelines of Telegram forbid the promotion of violence and the use of hate speech. He further clarified that the platform relies on its users to report content that violates the rule. Telegram terms additionally assert that when content is posted in private groups and channels they do engage in the removal of content whatsoever.

When Telegram refuses to engage in content removal, the IRGC channels, which can yield viewership in the three millions are broadcasting the coerced forced confessions of innocent victims of serious human rights violations. The broadcasting of these forced confessions, which notably amount to torture under international law, not only heavily influence public opinion, but directly interfere with a defendants right to due process. Rather than relying on users to report content that violates the vague standards Telegram sets out, the platform should adhere to an ethical practice of its own. The influence on public opinion reaches far beyond the broadcasting of forced confessions and includes the dissemination of misinformation related to intimidation of victims’ families and justifications for abuse. 

HRA has compiled a table of the most notable Telegram channels being used by the IRGC at this time (24 active channels with a total of over 1,362,000 members.). The following table includes 1.) Names and descriptions of the channels known to run by the IRGC 2.) Recent channel activity that should be investigated for removal by the Telegram platform 3.) Spreading Justice profiles associated with a given organization running a given channel. 

Interestingly, this is all against the backdrop of a 2018 ban of Telegram in Iran citing the application had become “a safe haven for committing different types of crimes.” The move was accompanied by a ban against the use of all foreign messaging applications by government bodies, including Telegram. 

More than five years later, government bodies are seemingly the ones with the so-called safe haven to commit those crimes. Allowing the IRGC to continue to use Telegram as a tool to intimidate victims, spread misinformation, and consistently interfere with the right to fair trial is a mere extension of the impunity already enjoyed in the context of Iran. Telegram must immediately address these observations; a failure to do so can be seen as nothing short of complicity. 

*To prevent the promotion of channels, names and information related to these activities are provided non-publicly upon the request of governments, institutions, and media.

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

UNGA-78 Side Event Highlights The Ongoing Persecution of Minorities in Iran

NEW YORK, NY – An event titled “One Year of ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’: The Ongoing Persecution of Minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran” hosted by Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) in partnership with OutRight International was held in New York, at Scandinavia House. The gathering, in the margins of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA-78), addressed the ongoing human rights situation in Iran.

The event was a reminder of the challenges faced by minorities in Iran, especially in the wake of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests. The demonstrations, which began a year ago following the tragic death in detention of Zhina Mahsa Amini, have drawn attention to the Iranian authorities’ excessive use of force and rampant human rights violations.

Independent journalist, Deepa Parent, expertly moderated the session. Opening remarks were courageously delivered by Iranian human rights activists, who, despite the risks, provided virtual comments directly from within Iran.

Dr. Javaid Rehman, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, offered insightful keynote remarks that outlined the challenges and potential paths forward for improving human rights in the country.

Dr. Javaid Rehman at the side event of the UN General Assembly (78th session)

Skylar Thompson, representing Human Rights Activists (HRA) presented three key areas the international community can urgently address the cycle of impunity in Iran including through continuing to support UN-led investigations including through the renewal of the FFMI mandate, the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran and steadfast support for resolutions on Iran. Second, she added the need for pursuing international pathways to justice notably through the use of universal jurisdiction in light of the unwillingness to investigate violations domestically. She concluded that the continued and united condemnation against violations of human rights and international law are essential because as she stated, “silence is complicity.”

Other panelists, including Simin Fahendej from the Baha’i International Community (BIC) and Awin Mostafazade from Kurdpa, provided rich context to the discussion, shedding light on the depth and breadth of discrimination that various minority groups encounter daily.

As the event concluded, the consensus was clear: the international community must redouble its efforts to address the plight of minorities in Iran. The event, which was open to the media, will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on all who attended.

HRA at HRC54

As the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council comes to a close, HRA reflects on a month of United Nations advocacy and why sustained international attention on the situation of human rights in Iran is imperative in light of the widespread, ongoing abuse and the disreputable denial by the State. 

The 54th Session of the Human Rights Council commenced with a statement by Volker Türk, who acknowledged the passing of Zhina Mahsa Amini and expressed concern over the troubling human rights violations that have unfolded in the past year. This included the introduction of the new Hijab Bill, strict legal penalties, an increased use of the death penalty, and the continued repression at the hands of the morality police.

HRA’s Director of Global Advocacy and Accountability took part in a side event titled “A Year of the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement,” hosted by IHRDC. During this event, she explored the wide-ranging implications of Iran’s new Hijab and Chastity Bill, with particular emphasis on the grave concerns surrounding the expanded authority granted to the Basij forces throughout the country.

Simultaneously, during the 54th session, the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) marked the one-year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s passing by expressing concerns about the Iranian government’s intensified repression and reprisals against its citizens. Additionally, the FFM raised alarm regarding new laws, especially those severely curbing the rights of women and girls. Furthermore, HRA continued its engagement with the FFM and the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, participating in meetings to support their mandates concerning Iran. Furthermore, HRA actively engaged in meetings with member states during this period continually briefing on emerging issue areas.

139th Session of the Human Rights Committee

In an effort to shed light on significant human rights abuses, HRA, in collaboration with its partners, submitted a formal written update to the Human Rights Committee in early October in preparation for its review of Iran. This update specifically addressed the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, media freedom and the safety of journalists, freedom of expression online, the right to privacy, the situation of human rights lawyers and defenders, and access to information. HRA also engaged in informal dialogues with committee experts regarding human rights in Iran, preparing for the interactive dialogue.

During the session, Thompson emphasized the ongoing human rights violations in Iran, particularly with regards to the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. Furthermore, she informed the Committee about the unjust treatment of journalists, charged with national security offenses after trials lacking any semblance of due process, all for simply exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression. Thompson stated, “Although repression against the freedom of information was already widespread, with journalists facing arrests, interrogations, imprisonments, surveillance, harassment, and threats, it has escalated since the outbreak of the ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ protests triggered by the death in detention of Zhina Mahsa Amini in September 2022.”

*Zohreh Elahian, designated by the European Union for her involvement in serious human rights violations, intervenes as part of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s official delegation. She appears sitting next to the Chair of the Human Rights Committee. October 9, 2023. 

During the same session, the Committee conducted a comprehensive review of the human rights situation in Iran, shedding light on grave violations, including instances of torture, the excessive use of force in response to recent protests, and the status of LGBTI rights. Regrettably, the delegation from the Islamic Republic chose not to provide substantive responses and even resorted to intimidation tactics when questioned about an individual listed on the EU sanctions list. See the Spreading Justice profile of Zohreh Elahian. Elahian’s position within the delegation, and travel to Switzerland as part of Iran’s delegation was questioned by Ms. Marcia Kran as part of the formal dialogue between the Committee and the delegation. Elahian’s travel was also condemned by the Chair of the Delegation for relation with Iran within the European Parliament, Cornelia Ernst. 

Following the session, the Human Rights Committee made a poignant observation, stating, “Most of the substantive questions remain unanswered.” Despite persistent inquiries regarding LGBT rights, torture, and the excessive use of force in recent protests, the Committee received no satisfactory responses.


As the session closes HRA remains steadfast in its commitment to amplifying the voices of Iranians on the international stage. Sustained international dialogue and attention is crucial for Iran, as it ensures that the ongoing struggles of the Iranian people are not only heard but also acted upon by the global community. By maintaining consistent focus on Iran, the international community can play a vital role in holding the Iranian government accountable for violations of human rights. 

HRA remains committed to working alongside our partners in civil society, the Special Rapporteur, the Independent and International Fact-Finding Mission, State and multinational institutions to support justice and accountability for serious human rights violations and possible crimes under international  law. 

Finally, HRA urges the United Nations to cease allowing known human rights abusers to travel to and participate in high level dialogues, and to uphold its fundamental principles of promoting peace, security and human rights. Allowing  individuals with a documented history of human rights violations to enter UN premises undermines States parties efforts and sends a conflicting message concerning the validity of the sanctions. 

Over 5,000 executions in last 10 years, 2,316 drug-related

According to HRA, at least 5,000 executions in last 10 years, 2,316 drug-related

Every year on October 10th, the World Day Against the Death Penalty is observed globally to promote awareness surrounding the complexities of capital punishment. This day serves as a catalyst for conversations, education, and activism, all aimed at advancing human rights and the global movement to eliminate the death penalty. 

As of October 2023, Iran has been executing an average of 10 people per week. From 2013 to 2023, HRANA has identified a total of 5034 executions, out of which 2,316 were drug-related. The majority of those executed were men. Iran has also sentenced 31 juvenile offenders to death, including one for a drug-related offense. It’s important to note that Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which strictly emphasizes that the death penalty should only be used for the “most serious crimes,” and any deviation from this principle would be considered a violation of the Right to Life.

It is crucial to acknowledge that Iran’s domestic judicial system is plagued with numerous due process violations. These violations include coerced forced confessions, torture, inhumane treatment, and a lack of adequate legal representation to name a mere few. Frequently, judges and prosecutors involved in grave right to life violations act with absolute impunity.



It is evident that any death sentence imposed for drug-related offenses represents a clear violation of the right to life. The persistence of such executions, particularly when trials are marred by due process violations, is deeply concerning. Iran should immediately establish a moratorium on all executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty in all circumstances.






Annual Report on Execution in Iran

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA)- On the World Day against the Death Penalty, the Center of Statistics of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) has published its annual report in an effort to sensitize the public about the death penalty situation in Iran, particularly thousands of death-row convicts awaiting their looming executions.

Click on the picture to download the full repport

HRA’s Statistics Center relies on the work of HRANA reporters, as well as a network of independent and verifiable sources. It also incorporates the judicial authorities’ announcements or confirmations of prisoner executions on media, and as such, is exposed to a margin of error representing efforts by the Iranian authorities to omit, conceal, or restrict the collection of such data.

Between October 10, 2022, and October 8, 2023, at least 659 convicts were executed by hanging in Iran, rising to 24% compared to the same period last year. Of these executions, Seven was carried out in public. Many of the defendants were denied a fair trial and due process.

HRANA obtained 580 reports regarding executions and the death penalty in Iran during this period. The identified executed individuals include 17 women and 1 juvenile offender under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crime. Compared to the last period, the execution of female offenders has decreased 15%.

According to the reports obtained by HRANA, over this period, Iranian authorities sentenced at least 164 defendants to the death penalty, including at least 5 women, and 2 public executions.  Issuing death sentences rose by 84% compared to the last year.

In a State where there are serious due process concerns, with judicial systems headed by judges with nicknames like “The Judge of Death ” the international community mustn’t turn a blind eye. Iran must be made to answer for such egregious violations. Iran should immediately impose a moratorium on the death penalty with a view of abolishing altogether.

As the chart below shows a breakdown of executions by capital offense: 56.60% for drug and narcotic offenses, 35.05% for murder, 2.58% for rape, 2.28% for unknown reasons, 1.21% for political or security-related offenses, 0.61% for “Corruption on Earth”, 0.61% for spying, terror, and bombing, 0.46% for “Corruption on Earth” (non-political), 0.46% for ideological, political, or religious reasons, 0.15% for Adultery – Types of consensual sexual relations

The pie chart below displays execution numbers by the province in which they took place. According to this chart, the Alborz (where three overcrowded prisons are located)  had the highest number of executions at 15.33%. Sistan and Baluchestan and Kerman Provinces come second and third, with 11.53% and 8.65%, respectively.

The chart below depicts the distribution of executions’ information sources. The chart indicates that 63% of HRANA-confirmed executions were not announced by the official Iranian sources. Undisclosed executions are referred to as “secret” executions.

The chart down shows the execution numbers by gender.

The chart below displays execution numbers by the prison where the executions were carried out. The Zahedan Prison And Adel Abad of Shiraz officials have carried out the highest number.

The chart below displays percentage of executions carried out in public Vs the number of executions that were carried out in prison. According to statistics, 1.06% of the executions in Iran were carried out in public.