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Erosion of minority rights: Surveillance and shrinking civic space in Iran

18 March 2024

At the 55th Session of the Human Rights Council on Monday 18 March 2024, Menka Shakti Sandrasagren, representing Minority Rights Group (MRG), engaged in an Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran. MRG expressed appreciation for the Special Rapporteur’s report, particularly acknowledging its focus on institutional discrimination and systematic persecution faced by ethnic and religious minorities in Iran.

Special Rapporteur,

Minority Rights Group (MRG) welcomes your report.

We are encouraged by the report’s emphasis on institutionalized discrimination and systematic persecution of ethnic and religious minorities and the need to address impunity.

Marginalization, persecution, repression of minority identity as well as a lack of institutional and individual accountability are all long-term drivers of insecurity in the country. This is demonstrated by the many protests since 2017 and the harsh crackdown on minorities in parallel. MRG is particularly alarmed by the increased military surveillance of Kurdish areas since September 2022, as well as the rapidly shrinking civic space for minorities and minority rights defenders.
Discrimination, environmental degradation, and economic neglect are defining aspects of life for minorities in Iran.

MRG welcomes the mandate’s attention to minority persecution and marginalization and further reiterates the importance of addressing challenges such as drought, air pollution, landmine contamination, under-development and poverty. These conditions are fuelling severe and ongoing violations of minority rights and are only exacerbated by the Islamic Republic’s continued under-investment in minority areas.

MRG thanks you for your work as Special Rapporteur on the Islamic Republic of Iran, and for the attention you have paid to the plight of minorities in the country throughout your tenure.

I thank you.

Watch the statement

A Baloch woman writes ‘Women, Life, Freedom’, the slogan originating in Kurdish grassroots movements and adopted by protestors across Iran, on a wall in Sistan-Baluchestan, Iran, 2022. Credit: Anonymous.


Menka Sandrasagren

Legal and Policy and Advocacy Administrative Assistant

Minority Rights Group