UNICEF says infant deaths “must stop” in Iran as protests continue



CNN

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said it remains deeply concerned about reports of children being killed, injured, and detained in Iran, it said in a statement on Friday, adding that reports of children dying in anti-government protests “must stop.” . . ”

“An estimated 50 children have died in the public unrest in Iran,” UNICEF said in its statement.

It comes as unrest has dragged on in Iran for more than two months, and amid growing calls from protesters and online activists for UNICEF, Amnesty International and other human rights organizations to take action on human rights abuses and crimes against children on planes in Iran.

Many tell CNN they feel their voices are not being heard. “They are just saying, ‘Oh, Islamic Republic of Iran, what you are doing is bad,'” one protester in Iran told CNN. “Yeah, everyone knows it sucks. Three-year-olds know it sucks, but we need real action. Do something. I don’t know. I think they know better than us what they can do.”

“In Iran, UNICEF remains deeply concerned by reports of children being killed, injured and detained,” the statement read, citing the death of a young boy named Kian Pervalak, one of seven people killed during Wednesday’s protests in the southwestern city of Izeh. . “This is horrifying and must stop,” the organization added.

UNICEF reports that Pervalac is 10 years old. Iranian state media reported that he was nine years old.

The child was traveling in a car on Wednesday with his family when he was shot dead and his father was wounded by gunfire, his mother told state media in an interview with Tasnim on Friday.

According to Iran’s pro-state news agency, protesters set fire to a religious school at the same time people were shot dead in Izeh in what state media described as a “terror attack”.

Activists accuse the Iranian regime of killing Kian and others in Izeh.

The Islamic Republic is facing one of the largest and unprecedented displays of dissent in modern history following the death of Mohsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman who was detained by the morality police for allegedly not wearing a headscarf properly.

At least 378 people have been killed since the demonstrations began, according to an Iranian human rights group, as the country’s supreme leader issued a warning that the protest movement was “doomed to fail”.

Today, Saturday, the Iranian Human Rights Organization published the estimated death toll, adding that it includes 47 children who were killed by the security forces.

CNN cannot independently verify arrest numbers, the death toll, and many accounts of those killed due to the Iranian government’s crackdown on independent media, and the internet shutdown, which reduces transparency in reporting on the ground. And the media cannot directly access the government on its behalf in such cases, unless there are reports on the state media, the mouthpiece of the government.

A video shared by activist group 1,500 Tasvir and others showed large crowds gathered for Pirfalak’s funeral in his hometown of Izeh on Friday.

Amidst the mourners, his mother, Zainab Moulayard, was heard singing a children’s song, replacing her lyrics with words against Ayatollah Khamenei and the regime. Then, she revealed new details about the fatal accident, according to a video clip that was circulated on social media.

She told the crowd, “Listen to what happened to an entity from my mouth, so the regime does not lie and say it is a terrorist.”

Mullard, who was traveling with her family in their car, said people in the street yelled at the car to turn back and that her son told his father not to worry.

“Baba trusts the police for once and turns around, they are looking for us,” she said.

His mother said that his father turned and headed towards the police. “Because the car windows were rolled up, the police thought maybe we wanted to shoot them,” she said.

“They opened fire on the car.”

Kian’s mother also posted a picture with her son on her Instagram post. “My broken flower. “Fuck the Islamic Republic,” she wrote.

Human rights groups have accused the Iranian authorities of intimidating the families of the victims into silencing their voices. Heba Morayef of Amnesty International said in a recent report that the Iranian authorities “systematically harass and intimidate the families of the victims to conceal the truth” of their deaths.

The United Nations said on Friday that it was “deeply concerned about the increased violence linked to the ongoing popular protests in Iran,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Farhan Haq.

“We condemn all incidents resulting in death or serious injury, including the shooting in the city of Ize on November 16, 2022. We are also concerned about reports that death sentences have been imposed against five unnamed individuals in the context of the recent protests,” Al-Haq said.

Haq urged the Iranian authorities to respect international human rights law and avoid using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators.

Despite the UN’s condemnation, Iranians have sharply criticized the world body and its agencies, saying that its words are not enough and that there is a lack of action against the human rights violations taking place in Iran.

Stories like Parvalik’s have “pushed Iranians inside and outside the country to really demand justice, wondering what on the ground UNICEF is doing to stop this,” Iranian human rights lawyer Jessu Nia said in an interview with Issa Soares on Friday.

Nia, who is also director of the Strategic Litigation Project at the Atlantic Council, said the UN Human Rights Council is meeting in Geneva on Thursday for a special session to address the “deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“It is likely that the outcome of that special session will be an investigative mechanism or some kind of independent body that can collect, preserve and analyze evidence of what is happening here for accountability purposes,” Nia said.

She added: “What would be absolutely shameful is if that 47-member body voted ‘no’ to the creation of such a mechanism.

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