LONDON: The UN’s leading human rights official on Friday condemned recent deadly assaults on protesters in Iran.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on the Iranian government to focus on addressing the “chronic water shortage” in Khuzestan province, which sparked the demonstrations, rather than “crushing protests.”
“The impact of the devastating water crisis on life, health and prosperity of the people of Khuzestan should be the focus of the government’s attention, not the protests carried out by people driven to desperation by years of neglect,” she said.
“I am extremely concerned about the deaths and injuries that have occurred over the past week, as well as the widespread arrests and detention.”
The UN and rights groups have condemned the Iranian regime’s “disproportionate” response to the protests. According to Amnesty International, at least eight people have been killed by security forces since the demonstrations began last week in the south-eastern province, which is home to many of the country’s ethnically Arab residents.
Khuzestan used to be the country’s main and most reliable source of water, according to the UN, but “mismanagement over many years, including the diversion of water to other parts of the country, coupled with nationwide droughts, has drained the province of its precious, life-saving resource.”