Advocacy statements

Iran: death in custody of Mahsa Amini

  • Date / 2022
  • Location / Iran
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Item / Item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Oral statement

International Humanist and Ethical Union

UN Human Rights Council, 51st Session (12 September – 7 October 2022)

General Debate 4


Thank you Mr. President,

A little more than a week ago, a 22-year old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, was tortured and murdered while in State custody, having been arrested by Iran’s morality police for wearing her hijab “too loosely.”[1] Earlier this month, two Iranian women were sentenced to death for their advocacy in support of LGBTI+ rights.[2]

Women human rights defenders and those defying or questioning patriarchal religious norms, whether through their speech, lifestyle or dress, are deemed ‘immoral’ in Iran, and subject to digital surveillance,[3] harassment, violence, arbitrary arrest, and imprisonment.[4] Women and girls are mandated by law to wear a hijab in public from the age of nine onward.

We remind Iran that compulsory veiling is a human rights violation,[5] and that appeals to religious morality can never be used to police women’s choices, or to invalidate their equal dignity and worth.

We urge all States attending this Council session and those at the UN General Assembly this week to call for Iran to cease its violent repression of all those currently protesting the litany of abuses by Iran’s morality police and security forces, and to ensure justice and accountability for Mahsa Amini, and all other individuals, who have been subject to violence for standing up for equality and human rights in Iran.

Thank you.


[1] https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/09/16/woman-dies-custody-irans-morality-police

[2] amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/6035/2022/en/; https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-women-sentenced-to-death-lgbt-activism/32019118.html

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/sep/05/iran-government-facial-recognition-technology-hijab-law-crackdown

[4] https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/09/mahsa-amini-acting-un-human-rights-chief-urges-impartial-probe-death-iran?fbclid=IwAR2sQ6NeN2oiTiHGxmTNOX7C4APCkYSd4I6LUxbOuqMEAVY9t6nfTNNeFjQ

[5] Coercion by the state or by private actors to ensure compliance with rules on traditional, cultural or religious forms of dress violate women’s rights to freedom of expression (Article 19), to freedom of religion or belief (Article 18) and to non-discrimination Article 26), amongst others, under the the International Covenant on Civil and. Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a party.

Suggested academic reference

'Iran: death in custody of Mahsa Amini', Humanists International

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