Iran: EU extends the list of individuals and entities under sanctions for human rights violations

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On 11 April 2021, the Council of the EU announced its decision to add 8 Iranian public officials and 3 detention facilities to the list of persons under restrictive measures for their involvement in human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The individuals were listed in particular for their role in orchestrating the extremely violent and deadly crackdown against protesters during the nation-wide demonstrations of November 2019. EU Member States also decided to include three prisons where protesters have been arbitrarily detained and deprived of many of their rights.

In the aftermath of the November 2019 protests, FIDH member organisation Justice for Iran conducted an in-depth investigation into the violations committed during the demonstrations, including the widespread use of excessive lethal force against protesters resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. These killings occurred amidst a near-total internet blackout implemented by Iranian authorities – a shutdown aimed at restricting the protesters’ ability to document and share information about the ongoing violations. Justice for Iran’s research identified the main perpetrators responsible for issuing the orders and carrying out the shootings – including the Police Force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Basij Organisation.

Since the demonstrations ended, the violations have continued to take place, and arrested protesters have had to face charges and sentences, including the death penalty. Their perpetrators have not been held to account, and remain in high-ranking positions within the Iranian state and security apparatus.

Since February 2020, FIDH and Justice for Iran have conducted joint advocacy with the EU and its Member State to urge them to extend the list of persons under sanctions to include the members of the network of perpetrators responsible for the many violations occurred during and in the aftermath of the November 2019 protests.

Over the past decades, FIDH and its member organisations in Iran have also engaged in long-standing advocacy efforts towards the EU and its Member States to call for human rights to be at the centre of EU-Iran relations. These new listings are a welcome step in the right direction.

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