Iran executed seven child offenders last year and two so far this year even though human rights law prohibits the death penalty for anyone under age 18, a UN independent human rights expert said Wednesday, AP/TIME reported.
Javaid Rehman also told the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee that he has “credible information” there are at least 90 child offenders currently on death row in Iran.
Rehman, the UN special investigator on human rights in Iran, expressed deep concern at the overall use of the death penalty in the country, saying its execution rate “remains one of the highest in the world” even after a drop from 507 in 2017 to 253 in 2018. So far in 2019, he said, “conservative estimates indicate that at least 173 executions have been carried out.”
Rehman welcomed an amendment to an Iranian anti-narcotics law in 2017 that led to the reduction in executions in 2018 but said “there is more work to be done.” He also said he was encouraged by the “enhanced dialogue” between Iranian authorities and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights “on the administration of justice and child offender executions,” AP writes.
As for the overall human rights situation in Iran over the last year, Rehman cited a number of “distressing factors,” including a declining economic situation that he said was “worsened by the impact of sanctions, with serious consequences for the realization of economic and social rights.”
The United States has been ratcheting up sanctions on Iran since President Donald Trump withdrew last year from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The U.S. administration contends Iran is not complying with the accord amid new questions about its activities raised by the UN atomic watchdog and is urging other countries to also step up pressure on Tehran.