(CNN) – The United Nations said Friday that it has video evidence appearing to show Iranian security forces ‘shooting to kill’ protesters during Iran’s latest wave of demonstrations.
In a statement on Friday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said she was alarmed by “the continuing lack of transparency about casualties and the treatment of thousands of detainees” during the recent wave of protests in Iran.
Bachelet said “prompt, independent and impartial investigations” into all possible violations needed to be undertaken, “including the killing of protesters.”
Iranians took to the streets in mid-November, shortly after the government announced an increase in fuel prices by as much as 300%. The exact death toll in the protests remains unclear as the government has withheld these numbers.
The UN Human Rights Office said it had information suggesting that at least 208 people were killed, including 13 women and 12 children. It said at least 7,000 have reportedly been arrested across the country. The government imposed a nationwide internet shutdown for over a week.
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“Verified video footage indicates severe violence was used against protesters, including armed members of security forces shooting from the roof of a justice department building in one city, and from helicopters in another,” Bachelet said.
Bachelet said her office had received footage appearing to show security forces shooting unarmed demonstrators from behind while they were running away, and shooting others directly in the face and vital organs — “in other words, shooting to kill,” she said.
“These are clear violations of international norms and standards on the use of force, and serious violations of human rights,” Bachelet said. “In such circumstances, with so many reported deaths, it is essential the authorities act with far greater transparency.
“All in all, the picture now emerging from Iran is extremely disturbing,” Bachelet added.
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