An increasing number of doctors and medical workers continue to be arrested, detained, tortured and killed by Islamic Republic forces for treating wounded protesters, reports the Center for Human Rights in Iran – in direct violation of international law that requires the protection of medical personnel as they carry out their duty to provide care to any individual in need.
Since the outbreak of anti-state protests across Iran after the September 2022 death in state custody of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini, at least 81 doctors, health workers and medical students in Iran have been detained and two women physicians have died under highly suspicious circumstances, according to the latest report from the Iranian Committee Following the Status of Detainees. Many of the detentions were carried out without any warrant.
“The beating and detaining of doctors who are trying to treat wounded individuals lay bare the inhumanity and criminality of the Islamic Republic,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“Protecting doctors who are treating the wounded is one of the most basic principles of international law,” Ghaemi said.
“The global medical community, as well as the UN and governments worldwide, should forcefully and publicly demand that the Islamic Republic immediately cease its detainment and violence against doctors treating protesters,” Ghaemi added.
CHRI also calls on the UN Fact-Finding Mission, established by the UN Human Rights Council in November 2022 to investigate the Islamic Republic’s atrocities while repressing nationwide protests, to investigate these cases, and hold Iranian authorities accountable.
The World Medical Association states, “Governments … should comply with the Geneva Conventions, to ensure that physicians and other health care professionals provide care to everyone in need in situations of armed conflict and other situations of violence. This obligation includes a requirement to protect health care personnel and facilities.” In addition, physicians have a responsibility to treat all wounded individuals and “not abandon the wounded and sick,” irrespective of circumstance.
“All of these cases regarding the state’s persecution of doctors and medical workers should be referred to the Fact-Finding Mission established at the UN Human Rights Council for investigation,” Ghaemi noted.
The Center for Human Rights in Iran lists the names of doctors, medical workers, family members, eyewitnesses and anonymous sources who spoke to CHRI regarding recent cases in which doctors and other medical care workers in Iran have been arrested, detained, placed in solitary confinement and subjected to prolonged interrogations, tortured and/or killed by Islamic Republic security forces. Read more