Rights groups: Iran uses internet shutdowns to hide human rights violations

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Rights groups have said Iran appears to be using internet shutdowns to hide government violations of human rights – and even extra-judicial killings, the Times of Israel reports.

On February 22 the Iranian regime shut down regional internet access for several days after at least 10 people were killed by security forces in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan. Close to the border with Pakistan, the province has a large ethnic Baluch population and has been at the center of fighting between separatists and Sunni extremists.

The government killings last month sparked a rare outburst of unrest, which reportedly resulted in authorities using live ammunition against unarmed protestors. the Times of Israel reports. However, there was very little information available about the crisis because the internet was shut off. The Sistan-Baluchistan region is poverty-stricken and phones account for over 95 percent of internet use.

In a joint statement about the situation, rights groups Amnesty International, Access Now, Article 19 and Miaan Group said Iran’s shutting down the internet is a “measure authorities appear to be using as a tool to conceal gross human rights violations and possible international crimes such as extrajudicial killings.”

“It is aimed at harming documentation and the ability of people to mobilize and coordinate,” Mahsa Alimardani, Iran researcher with Article 19, told reporters. “It helps the authorities to be able to control the narrative.”

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