The Seoul-based Transitional Justice Working group (TJWG) and 83 Iranian and international organisations and groups have called for joint action to stop drug-related executions, urging the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) to make any cooperation with the Islamic Republic contingent on a complete halt on drug-related executions.
80+ Rights Groups
The death penalty or state murder is the Islamic Republic’s most important tool for instilling societal fear to maintain power. Executions in Iran increased dramatically following the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising, with at least 834 people executed in 2023.
In 2023, more than half of all recorded executions in Iran were for drug-related charges. At least 471 people were executed without any backlash or political cost for the Islamic Republic. The majority of those executed are from deprived and marginalised communities. The number of executions carried out in the ethnic regions, particularly the Kurd and Baluch, is disproportionally high compared to their population. In 2023, a third of those executed for drug-related charges were Baluch people.
Drug defendants are sentenced  to death by Revolutionary Courts based on torture-tainted confessions, without due process and fair trial rights and often without access to a lawyer.
Drug-related executions have not received appropriate international reaction and their daily implementation is met with media silence. This has led to the authorities carrying out 18 times more drug executions in 2023 compared to 2020 with the lowest political cost.
On the other hand, the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) which cooperates with Iran in combating drug trafficking, has not only remained silent about the sharp hike in drug executions, but signed a new agreement with the Islamic Republic in May 2023. In addition to legitimising the state’s use of the death penalty, this cooperation also leads to more executions through financial aid and equipment.
We are concerned  that hundreds more will be executed in the coming months if we do not increase the political cost of these executions for the Islamic Republic. We call on all human rights organisations and activists to take part in a special global campaign to stop drug-related executions in Iran.
The aim of the campaign is to echo the voice of the most voiceless victims of the Islamic Republic’s execution and intimidation machine. We also urge the UNODC to make any cooperation with the Islamic Republic contingent on a complete halt on drug-related executions.
1. Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO)
2. International Committee Against Execution (ICAE)
3. Global Campaign to Stop Executions In Iran
4. World Coalition Against the Death Penalty
5. Defenders of Human Rights Center (Shirin Ebadi)
6. Impact Iran
7. Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM)
8. Harm Reduction International
9. Kurdistan Human Rights Association – Geneva
10. Haalvsh
11. The Baloch Activists Campaign
12. Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN)
13. 6Rang (Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network)
14. Kurdpa Human Rights Organization
15. Ahwaz Human Rights Organisation (AHRO)
16. Justice for Iran
17. Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
18. Association for the Human Rights of the Azerbaijani People in Iran (AHRAZ)
19. Center for Human Rights in Iran
20. United for Iran (U4I)
21. Hengaw Organization for Human Rights
22. HANA Human Rights Organization
23. Balochistan Human Rights Group
24. Rasanak
25. All Human Rights for All in Iran
26. United to End Executions in Iran
27. Siamak Pourzand Foundation
28. The Sunny Center Foundation (USA)
29. Hands Off Cain
30. Abolition Death Penalty of Iraq Organization
31. Rescue Alternatives Liberia
32. ACAT Belgique
33. The Christian Union for Progress and Human Rights, DRC
34. Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo, Guatemala
35. Death Penalty Focus (USA)
36. Key and Vulnerable Population Tanzania (KVP Forum)
37. Capital Punishment Justice Project, Australia
38. Eleos Justice, Monash University, Australia
39. ACAT Germany (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture)
40. German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (GCADP)
41. Federal Association of Vietnamese Refugees in the Federal Republic of Germany
42. Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG), South Korea
43. Humanity Diaspo, France
44. Italian Federation for Human Rights (FIDU)
45. SALAM DHR (Bahrain)
46. ACAT France
47. Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI)
48. Association des Chercheurs Iraniens (ACI)
49. ArcDH Human Rights of Azerbaijanis of Iran
50. Kanoon-e Khavaran
51. NIKA, Network of Iranians for Liberty and Democracy
52. Free Them Now
53. Frauen fĂŒr Freiheit e.v
54. SolidaritĂ€t mit der Iranischen Revolution – Frankfurt/Mainz
55. Iranian Voices in Frankfurt
56. Bramsh – Voice of Balochistan Women
57. International Iranian Physicians and Healthcare Providers Association (IIPHA)
58. Aktion fĂŒr Menschenrechte e.V.
59. Simorgh; Centre socio-culturel des Iraniens de Québec
60. Free Human Association
61. Iranian Healthcare Association for Democracy and Human Rights
62. Nemiran Center
63. Women’s Independence and Sustainable Equality (WISE)
64. Stop Child Executions (SCE)
65. Hanai Rojhelat
66. Alborz, Paris – collectif en soutien au soulĂšvement “Femme, Vie, LibertĂ©”, France
67. Transnational Community Federation e.V
68. HÁWAR.help Organization
69. Norsk Iransk RĂ„d
70. SolidIran Association
71. Minnesota 4Iran
72. Ensemble pour l’Iran
73. Centre Zagros pour les Droits de l’Homme
74. Kurdistan Human Rights Reporters Center
75. Iransk Solidaritetsforum
76. Woman-Life-Freedom, Melbourne
77. Feminista Bonn
78. Justice Supporters Association
79. International Women in Power
80. Alliance Path for Iran (API)
81. Volunteer Doctors of Kurdistan
82. Rev Group Iran
83. Frau Leben Freiheit Darmstadt
84. Rojhalat Women Organisation