On 25 September 2023, ARTICLE 19, Amnesty International UK and representatives from the Bahá’í International Community met with the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and United Nations. Following the meeting, ARTICLE 19 provided recommendations regarding what we believe the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of His Majesty’s (HM) government should pursue in aid of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Since the nationwide Mahsa Jhina Amini protests began in mid-September 2022, we have appreciated His Majesty’s government placing the issue of human rights in Iran on its agenda.
ARTICLE 19 has been monitoring the abuses against freedom of expression both online and offline in Iran. Particularly alarming has been the Iranian authorities’ imposition of internet shutdowns and disruptions during the protests. They have used these measures to prevent people from exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly; to conceal the scale and severity of their deadly crackdown on protests; and to in turn facilitate the commission of possible crimes against humanity.
The briefing looks at three areas which we would like the UK to focus its efforts on, namely: internet shutdowns and disruptions; ways to stop the transnational flows of censorship and surveillance equipment to the Islamic Republic of Iran; and lastly, work with social media companies to ensure their platforms help empower users to access their rights to freedom of expression in a context where they face increasing harms from the state.
We urge the offices of both Lord Ahmad and the foreign secretary to facilitate meetings on a quarterly basis and follow through on our dialogue and recommendations.