Iran protests 248.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Thousands of peaceful protesters, including students,
lawyers and prominent human rights activists have been detained
following the June presidential election. That has made Iran's
reaction to political dissent "a human rights disaster,"
New York-based Human Rights Watch said in its annual report on
violations and abuses worldwide.
Human Rights deputy Middle East director Joe Stork
described the "systematic and brutal targeting" of
protesters and government critics by security forces. He said it
marked "the worst crackdown" in the Islamic Republic in
decades, and called on Teheran to release whose who were captured in
peaceful protests or otherwise demonstrating their right to free
post-election unrest is now a full-blown human rights crisis,"
He called it "nothing but an attempt to silence
voices of dissent."
Iranian officials have acknowledged that at least 30
protesters died as a result of attacks by the riot police and the
hard-line militia group, the Basij. Human Rights Watch believes the
death toll is much higher.
The chapter on Iran —
one of 15 Middle East countries reviewed in the report — was
released in Dubai on Sunday along with findings in Iraq, the United
Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
In Iraq, human rights conditions remain "particularly
poor for the displaced people, religious and ethnic minorities, women
and girls and men suspected of homosexual conduct," Samer
Muscati, Iraq researcher for Human Rights Watch, told reporters in
Civilians remained targets of attacks as the United
States began to withdraw combat forces from Iraq, Muscati said. He
mentioned reports of "widespread torture practices" in
Iraqi jails as officials struggle to assume responsibility of about
30,000 detainees who currently are in US custody.
Human Rights Watch urged Iraq's government to make
sure national elections in March are "free and fair, with full
participation of all parties, regardless of their political or
The call comes amid international concern over Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government to ban hundreds of candidates
from the ballot because of suspected links to Saddam Hussein's
In the UAE, the human rights situation worsened in
2009, the group said. Migrant workers particularly suffered as the
economy — especially in the boomtown of Dubai — dove deep into
the red. The report cited tens of thousands of migrant workers who
were forced to go home after construction was either halted or
Some companies have sent home migrant workers on
unpaid "leave" as a way to avoid compensation required in
their contracts.Additionally, the report described female domestic
workers who remain deprived of wages and food, endure forced
confinement and physical or sexual abuse. And it said foreign
residents and UAE citizens have been jailed on debt and corruption
The report also accused UAE and Bahrain authorities
of continued harassment of human rights defenders and government
critics. It also cited attempts to stifle media that are critical of
the official policies in the two Gulf countries.
post-election unrest is a "full-blown human rights crisis,"
a watchdog group said Sunday, calling on Tehran to free government
critics detained during the crackdown.