Two international human rights groups have called for an end to international monetary and technical assistance to Iran’s anti-drug campaign, which they claim is the cause of the rising number of executions in Iran.

Human Rights Watch and Harm Reductions International have issued a joint statement calling on all UN bodies and international organizations to halt all forms of assistance to Iran’s anti-drug efforts.

According to the statement, the aid is used to promote the mistreatment of suspects in drug cases.

The statement claims that in the past decade, millions of dollars have been given to Iran’s fight against drugs by UN agencies, Canada, Japan and some European nations in order to reduce the supply and demand of illicit drugs.

However, AFP reports that Rebecca Shleifer, a spokeswoman for HRW, says the assistance is making it “easier to prosecute alleged offenders based on unfair trials, and even apply the death sentence under the draconian drug laws of Iran’s revolutionary courts.”

She added: “Draconian laws, secret trials, no appeals, and death sentences for possession of small amounts of drugs should warn off any donor that wants to do the right thing.”

According to Iranian law, drug offences are punishable by death. The statement issued by the two rights groups indicates that there has been a marked rise in the number of executions for drug charges in Iran.

In 2011, 600 people were reportedly executed in Iran, 81 percent of which were for drug related charges.

The statement says foreigners and, in particular, Afghan refugees and illegal immigrants are at particular risk because they are often not given the right to a fair trial.