UN rights body launches Iran human rights investigation

The Council, which met in special session in response to the crisis triggered by the September death in police custody of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini, heard Mr Türk criticize “the fortress mentality of those who wield power” in Iran .

The “unnecessary and disproportionate use of force” must end, he stressed.

Harrowing images

“It pains me to see what is happening in the country,” he told the packed house. “The images of murdered children. Of women being beaten in the street. From people sentenced to death.”

The UN High Commissioner highlighted how the security forces, “particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Basij forces, have used live ammunition, birdshot and other metallic bullets, tear gas and batons” against the protest movement as it has allegedly spread 150 cities and 140 universities in all provinces of Iran.

Before calling for an independent investigation into all alleged rights violations, the High Commissioner noted that his office had received “multiple communications” from Iran about the episode, “including domestic investigations”. These efforts “failed international standards of impartiality, independence and transparency,” Mr Türk said.

Official denials

Responding to the High Commissioner’s remarks, Iran’s representative Khadijeh Karimi, Deputy Vice President for Women’s and Family Affairs, stressed that the government had taken “necessary steps” to seek justice after the death of Ms. Amini. These include the establishment of an independent, parliamentary commission of inquiry and a forensic medical team.

“However, before the formal announcement of the probe analysis, the biased and hasty response of some Western authorities and their intervention in Iran’s internal affairs turned the peaceful meetings into rioting and violence,” she claimed.

Speaking also at the special session – the Council’s 35th since its establishment in 2005 – Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, stressed that efforts to silence protesters had intensified over the past week, including against children .

Child victims among the dead

At least 60 to 70 people have been killed, he said, including five children, mostly from Kurdish areas. He also described the situation in the Kurdish towns of Piranshahr, Javanrood and Mahabad as “alarming”.

“The Iranian government has consistently presented unsubstantiated reports and repeated claims that Jina Mahsa did not die as a result of violence or beatings,” he said. “In other reports, the government denies the killing of children by security forces, claiming that they committed suicide, fell from a height, were poisoned or killed by anonymous ‘enemy agents’.”

These are three of the estimated 400 killed because they stood up for their right to decide their own lives.

Hijab rules

Since the death of Ms Amini after her arrest by Iran’s so-called Morality Police on September 13 for not wearing her hijab properly, more than 300 people, including at least 40 children, have been killed in protests, according to the latest information from the UN Human Rights Office.

At least 15,000 people have also been arrested “and the Iranian regime is now threatening demonstrators with the death penalty,” said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of Germany, who originally called for the special session: “And why? Only because these women, men and children want to enjoy the rights we all want: a dignified life without discrimination.”

Echoing that message, Michèle Taylor, the United States Human Rights Ambassador in Geneva, told the Council that the people of Iran were demanding “something so simple, something most of us here take for granted: the ability to speak and be heard. become. We applaud their courage, especially the women, girls and youth who valiantly demand respect for their human rights and accountability for abuses.”

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