More than 40 human rights organizations are calling on the United Nations Human Rights Council to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the Iranian government’s  crackdown on protesters.

The statement released Monday expressed concern over the Islamic Republic’s brutal suppression of nationwide protests in response to the death of 22-year-old Masha Amini.  Amini died last month while in detention by morality police in Tehran for failing to properly cover her hair with a hijab.

The human rights groups said the evidence suggests a disturbing pattern of security forces deliberately firing live ammunition and metal shells at protesters and bystanders, including children.

The statement says more than 200 protesters have been killed during the demonstrations, including at least 23 children, while more than 1,000 protesters, activists, journalists and students have been arbitrarily arrested.

The groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, are urging the UNHRC to establish an independent entity with investigative, reporting and accountability duties.  The signatories say if the international community fails to act, numerous men, women, and children will be subjected to death, impairment, torture, physical assault, and imprisonment.

The statement was also signed by Iran Human Rights, the Baluchistan Human Rights Network, the Hengaw Human Rights Organization, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

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