Australia must step up for brave Iranians like Mahsa Amini

Nationwide protests sparked by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini are being brutally quashed by the Iranian authorities. As the death toll rises, Iranian authorities have shut down the internet to hide their crimes.

What is happening in Iran?

On the 13 September, 22 year-old Kurdish-Iranian Mahsa Amini was arrested and beaten in Tehran by Iran’s so-called “morality” police. Within hours, she was taken to hospital in a coma. Three days later, Mahsa died as a result of her injuries.

Today, the Iranian people continue to fiercely take to the streets to protest Mahsa’s death. The world has watched on as protesters have bravely stood up to security forces, students have rallied and walked out of their classrooms, and women and girls have cut off their hair and set their scarves on fire.

We’ve also seen them face a barrage of gunfire. Hundreds of people have died, including children. For years, our research has revealed patterns of ruthless violence in response to protests in Iran. It cannot go on any longer.

In Iran, those responsible for violence against protesters face zero repercussions and fear no consequences. This crisis of impunity means every time Iranians take to the streets, they do so risking their lives. Despite this, they continue to fight for their human rights day in and day out.

But they cannot do it alone. The time for the international community to act is now.

What Amnesty is calling for

At Amnesty, we’re calling on the international community to set up an independent investigative mechanism. One that can investigate human rights abuses by the Iranian authorities, and can hold those responsible accountable.

The international community, including Australia, must send a strong message that those responsible for the deaths of protesters will not go unpunished. Without this action, countless more face being killed, maimed, tortured, sexually assaulted or thrown behind bars solely for their participation in protests.

People power works – how you can help

The pressure of our collective voices can make a difference – it has before.

Last year, Iranian activist Atena Daemi was finally released from prison after being locked up behind bars for 5 years. Thousands of people from around the world challenged injustice by taking action for Atena – including 22,000 Australians.

“I hope that we’ll achieve our first and last wish, which is freedom, public awareness and the realisation of human rights.”

Iranian activist Atena Daemi

Together, we can make that wish a reality for the courageous people of Iran.

You can take action and call on Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong to support an independent investigation that ensures accountability and justice for brave protesters in Iran.

Women and girls have fought hard for their human rights over the years – to be educated; to access health care, to own property, to vote, and much more. But, around the world, they continue to face violence and discrimination. Learn more about our women’s rights campaign work.

When courageous people protest, they make the world a better place. We must protect the right to protest wherever it is restricted and whenever it is at risk. Learn more about our right to protest campaign work.

Nikita White (she/her) is a campaigner for Amnesty International Australia.