Issued on: 24/11/2022 – 13:35
The UN rights chief urged Iran Thursday to instantly halt violence in opposition to protesters, as international locations debated whether or not to launch an investigation into Tehran’s lethal crackdown.
Volker Turk opened an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council, the place international locations had been referred to as to debate Iran‘s “deteriorating human rights state of affairs” and decide if a high-level worldwide investigation is warranted.
The assembly, requested by Germany and Iceland with the backing of greater than 50 international locations, follows two months of protests in Iran sparked by the loss of life of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested for an alleged breach of the nation’s strict costume guidelines for girls primarily based on Islamic sharia regulation.
“I name on the authorities instantly to cease utilizing violence and harassment in opposition to peaceable protesters,” stated Turk, the United Nations’ excessive commissioner for human rights.
“The pointless and disproportionate use of power should come to an finish,” he stated, warning that Iran was in “a full-fledged human rights disaster.”
“Accountability is a key ingredient of the pursuit of justice for human rights violations,” he informed the 47-member council, urging the physique to vote in favour of an investigation.
Iranian authorities have grown more and more heavy-handed in their response, because the demonstrations have unfold throughout the nation and swelled right into a broad motion in opposition to the theocracy that has dominated Iran since 1979.
Turk stated greater than 300 individuals had been killed since Amini’s loss of life. Norway-based group Iran Human Rights has put the toll above 400, together with greater than 50 youngsters.
“The safety forces… have used reside ammunition, birdshot and different metallic pellets, tear gasoline and batons,” stated Turk.
‘Shine a highlight’
He additionally stated round 14,000 individuals, together with youngsters, have been arrested in the context of the protests, describing this as “a staggering quantity”.
No less than six individuals have up to now been sentenced to loss of life in reference to the protests.
Diplomats had been requested Thursday to determine whether or not to ascertain a so-called impartial worldwide fact-finding mission into all abuses linked with the continued protests.
The investigation ought to embody “the gender dimensions of such violations”, in line with the draft decision, offered by Germany and Iceland.
The textual content requires the investigators to “gather, consolidate and analyse proof of such violations, and to protect proof,” with a view to future prosecution.
German International Minister Annalena Baerbock, who like her Icelandic counterpart attended the session, burdened that “the Iranian demonstrators don’t have any seat on the Human Rights Council in Geneva.”
Earlier than it started, she urged the council to “elevate its voice for the indivisible rights of Iran’s individuals.”
Diplomats and rights activists voiced robust assist for the initiative.
“We should do all we will to reveal the reality of what’s taking place inside Iran and assist the calls of the Iranian individuals for justice and accountability,” US ambassador Michele Taylor stated.
‘Narrative of tyranny’
Turk stated Iranian statements sought “to delegitimise and label protesters, civil society actors and journalists as brokers of enemies and overseas states.”
“As now we have seen all through historical past, it is the everyday narrative of tyranny,” he stated, encouraging the Iranian management to respect elementary freedoms and interact with residents about their imaginative and prescient for the nation.
“Change is inevitable. The way in which ahead is significant reforms,” he burdened.
In response, Khadijeh Karimi, Iran’s deputy of the vp for girls and household affairs, slammed the Western international locations that demanded the assembly.
Europe and the USA “lack the ethical credibility to evangelise others on human rights and to request a particular session on Iran,” she stated.
Germany and Iceland obtained broad backing for his or her request to carry Thursday’s session, together with from greater than a 3rd of the council’s 47 members.
Western diplomats voiced cautious optimism that the decision would undergo however acknowledged it might be tight.
Baerbock referred to as for the council to vote in favour of the decision.
“We owe it to the victims,” she stated. “Each vote counts.”