Top UN officials voiced deep concern on Tuesday about human rights violations in Iran amid reports of rising numbers of executions, including of minors and Afghan migrants for drug-related offences.
They spoke as an annual report on human rights in Iran, authored by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, was presented to the UN Human Rights Council, a political body consisting of 47 elected members that can authorise investigations.
“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the increase of executions, including for drug-related offences,” said Nada Al-Nashif, UN deputy high commissioner for human rights.
Iran’s envoy told the council that the report contained “unsubstantiated claims” and “false allegations”.
The report cited data collected by non-governmental organisations showing that 310 individuals had been executed in 2021 compared with 260 in all of the previous year. In the first three months of 2022, at least a further 105 people were executed, it said.
Capital crimes in Iran include same-sex relations, armed rebellion and “spreading corruption”. An increasing number of those recently executed were drug offenders, including several Afghan migrants, the report said.
UN figures show that hundreds of thousands of Afghans fled to Iran last year during a major upheaval in their homeland that led to Islamist Taliban seizing power in August.
The right of a fair trial in some of these cases had not been guaranteed, the UN report said.