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Politics

UN Rights Council Votes To Set Up Probe Into Iran Protest Crackdown

November 24, 2022
2 min read
UN Rights Council Votes To Set Up Probe Into Iran Protest Crackdown

The United Nations' top human rights body has voted to establish an independent fact-finding mission to investigate abuses committed by Iranian security forces in their brutal crackdown on nationwide protests that have gripped the country for weeks.

During a November 24 session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, 25 council members backed a resolution put forward by Germany and Iceland to set up the new investigative mission.

Six countries opposed the proposal — China, Pakistan, Cuba, Eritrea, Venezuela and Armenia — while 16 others abstained.

Earlier, Tehran’s representative at the meeting blasted the initiative as “politically motivated.”

The vote follows over two months of anti-government protests demanding more freedoms and women's rights. The wave of anger was sparked by the September death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Tehran’s morality police. She had been arrested for an alleged breach of the country's strict dress code.

Security forces have cracked down hard on the protests, killing at least 416 people, including 51 children and 27 women, according to one human rights group. Thousands of people have also been arrested.

At least six people have so far been sentenced to death over the demonstrations, which have grown into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told the Geneva meeting that the situation presented “a test of our courage.”

“On many occasions, we have called upon Iran to respect these rights to stop the violent crackdown on protesters, the bloodshed, the arbitrary killing, the mass arrests, the death penalties,” she said.

“The only answer we received was more violence, more death.”

UN human rights chief Volker Turk called on the Iranian authorities “to stop using violence and harassment against peaceful protesters and to release all those arrested for peacefully protesting, as well as crucially, to impose a moratorium on the death penalty.”

“The people of Iran, from all walks of life across ethnicities, across ages, are demanding change. These protests are rooted in long standing denials of freedoms, in legal and structural inequalities, in lack of access to information and Internet shutdowns,” Turk said.

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

She also reiterated Tehran’s view that Western countries were stoking riots and violence by intervening in Iran’s internal affairs.

The 47-member Human Rights Council is now set to establish a fact-finding mission to “collect, consolidate and analyze” evidence of rights violations, “especially with respect to women and children,” linked to the ongoing protests, and to “preserve evidence” with a view to future prosecution.

The team would be expected to report back to the council in mid-2023.

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