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Iran Blocks Internet to Suppress Protesters’ Rights: UN

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

A group of UN human rights experts has expressed concerns over Iran government’s decision to block Internet services in the country.

“We are very concerned at reports that the Government has blocked the Internet on mobile networks, and that social media services like Instagram and messaging services like Telegram have been shut down in an attempt to quell the protests. In some regions, Internet access has been blocked altogether,” the experts stated Saturday.

“Communication blackouts constitute a serious violation of fundamental rights,” they said, adding that the control and censorship of information through the blocking of Internet and messaging services represents an unlawful restriction of the right to freedom of expression and prevents the population from accessing communication and services.

Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein had urged the Iranian authorities “to handle the wave of protests that have taken place around the country with great care so as not to further inflame violence and unrest,” and to investigate all deaths and serious injuries that have occurred so far.

Thousands of Iranians have been protesting across the country against government corruption, increasing unemployment, and the economic slowdown while the government has decided to deal with the protesters with an iron fist.

The experts said the absence of steps to address the underlying causes of the protests through non-violent means was “disturbing”.

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