A United Nations human rights body condemns repression in Iran and opens an investigation

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted on Thursday (last night Thursday) to condemn the bloody crackdown on peaceful protests in Iran and to establish an independent fact-finding mission to investigate alleged abuses, particularly those against women and children.

The resolution, submitted by Germany and Iceland, was supported by 25 countries, including the United States and many European, Latin American, Asian and African countries.

Six countries opposed the move – China, Pakistan, Cuba, Eritrea, Venezuela and Armenia – while 16 abstained.

The UN’s top human rights official earlier appealed to the Iranian government to stop the crackdown on protesters, but Tehran’s envoy to the Special Human Rights Council on the “deteriorating” human rights situation in the country was defiant and unbending, describing the initiative as “politically motivated”.

The protests erupted more than two months after the death of 22-year-old Mohsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police for violating the strictly enforced Islamic dress code.

It is the latest international effort to pressure Iran over its crackdown, which has already imposed international sanctions and other measures.

German Foreign Minister Annalina Berbock, who was present, said the situation was “a test of our courage”.

German Foreign Minister Analina Berbock.

She said, “The United Nations was established to protect the sovereignty of every country, but a regime that uses this force to violate the rights of its people is violating the values ​​of the United Nations.”

“We have called on Iran on many occasions to respect these rights to stop the violent repression of protesters, bloodshed, arbitrary killings, mass arrests and death sentences,” Barbock said. The only answer we received was more violence, more death.”

Khadija Karimi, Iran’s deputy vice president for women and family affairs, criticized the Western efforts as part of “Germany’s politically motivated move to distort the human rights situation in Iran.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets that the Human Rights Council is once again being mistreated by some arrogant countries to antagonize a sovereign member state of the United Nations that is fully committed to its obligation to promote and protect human rights,” Karimi said.

She praised her government’s efforts to promote the role of women in the workplace and higher education and accused Western countries of turning a blind eye to rights abuses in places like Yemen, the Palestinian territories or against Indigenous peoples in Canada – something the Canadian government has acknowledged. .

Karimi acknowledged Amini’s “unfortunate death” and said that “necessary measures” were taken afterward, including the formation of a parliamentary commission of inquiry.

And accused Western countries of fueling riots and violence by interfering in Iran’s internal affairs.

The UN human rights coordinator, Volker Türk, has expressed his concerns that the Iranian government has not been listening to the international community.

“The people of Iran, from all walks of life across ethnicities, through the ages, have been calling for change. These protests are rooted in longstanding denials of freedoms, in legal and structural inequalities, and in lack of access to information and shutdowns of the internet,” he said.

“I call on the authorities to immediately stop using violence and harassment against peaceful protesters, to release all those detained for their peaceful protest, and also, crucially, to impose a moratorium on the death penalty.”

The council will now set up a “fact-finding mission” to investigate rights violations “particularly with regard to women and children” linked to the protests that broke out on 16 September.

It also calls on Tehran to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, such as allowing entry to areas within Iranian territory, including places of detention.

The team is expected to report back to the Council in mid-2023.

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