Iran protests: death toll reaches over 300, including 40 children

28 November, 2022

In September, Iranian ‘morality’ police brutally beat and killed a young woman for disobeying Iran’s strict and mandatory hijab law. Her name was Mahsa Amini. She was just 22 years old. She died on 16 September.

And now, almost three months later, women are burning their headscarves in the streets, standing opposite the armoured militiamen of the Iranian dictatorship. Much like the brutality of the regime, their bravery has been plain for all to see. According to the UN Human Rights Office, the official number of murdered protesters has reached over 300, including 40 children. This is in addition to thousands of arrests, estimated to now stand at over 12,000.  ‘Women, life, freedom’ has become a revolutionary slogan, and security crackdowns and bloodshed is now commonplace in the streets of Tehran, and in every major city across the nation.

This is a historic moment for Iran, a political flashpoint which shows no sign of losing momentum. Iran’s participation, and protest, during this year’s World Cup in Qatar has served to highlight the violence of the Iranian Government. During the England v Iran game last Monday, Humanists UK Vice President, Shaparak Khorsandi, featured on the BBC World at One Show, outlining the bravery and significance of their protest, which saw the team stand in silence during the Iranian national anthem.

Government blamed Masha’s death on ‘conspirators’ and an ‘underlying health condition’, and continues to call any challenge of their violence ‘enmity against god.’ Athletes, and those with dissident voices, have been arrested. Humanists UK, along with the global human rights community, continues to express its outrage, solidarity, and condemnation.

Our Vice President Shaparak Khorsandi, whose family fled Iran following the Islamic Revolution, said:

‘The Iranian regime kills women for trying to live freely. This is not just Iran’s problem, it is the world’s problem. Do not look away. This denial of basic human rights is an affront to human dignity. Mahsa Amini cannot speak up any more. The world should act in solidarity and amplify her voice and the voices of all Iranian women who dare to speak up for choice and democracy.’

Mahsa’s death follows Iran’s hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, ordering stricter enforcement of the country’s mandatory dress code. This has required all women to wear the hijab head-covering since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Humanists UK is firmly committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and equality, as exemplified in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These rights represent shared values rooted in our common humanity and our shared human needs, transcending particular cultural and religious traditions. This regard for human rights and the equal dignity of all human beings underpins many of its policies, including its support for freedom of religion or belief.


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 020 3675 0959.

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