We, the undersigned, and the organisations we represent, are writing to express our grave concern about the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in Iran. As health professionals and the representatives of health organisations, we are particularly concerned by the targeting of health staff and the violation of professional medical duties of neutrality and impartiality.
Following the protests that erupted in Iran after the killing of Mahsa Aminin while in the custody of the Iranian morality police, we have received harrowing accounts of the mass arrests of injured protesters while attending emergency health facilities, along with deeply troubling reports of ambulances being forced to take injured protesters directly to detention centres, without being seen in health facilities. We also understand that many doctors who have attended dying protesters have subsequently been forced by security forces and the secret service of the Islamic Republic, against the facts, and under threat of torture and arrest, to certify the causes of death as suicide or the result of pre-existing medical conditions. This is a violation of core medical professional responsibilities and a direct attack on the independence and neutrality of the medical and health professions.
We also understand, again with profound concern, that peaceful actions by health professionals to protest the violation of their professional rights have been met by violent attacks by security forces, in direct contradiction of rights to peaceful assembly.
We unequivocally condemn these violations both of fundamental professional obligations, and of rights to peaceful protest in the Republic of Iran. Doctors have a right to undertake their professional duties without the threat of violence or other interference from the state.
We therefore call on the Republic of Iran to immediately cease its persecution of both peaceful protesters and health professionals and adhere to its human rights obligations, to ensure that doctors and other professionals have the necessary freedom to carry out their duties in concordance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Geneva and without the threat of death or arbitrary arrest, and to ensure that healthcare equipment and facilities are used for health care purposes only.
Dr Kitty Mohan, Chair, BMA International Committee
Dr Adrian Boyle, President, Royal College of Emergency Medicine
Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair, Royal College of General Practitioners
Dr Camilla Kingdon, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Professor Neil Mortensen, President, Royal College of Surgeons in England