The ‘inquiry mission’ will investigate alleged human rights abuses in Iran, with a particular focus on women and children.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to establish a fact-finding mission to investigate possible abuses in Iran’s crackdown on anti-government protests, with a particular focus on women and children.
Thunderous applause erupted as the 47-member council approved the resolution on Thursday, with 25 countries voting in favor and 16 abstaining. Six nations – Armenia, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Pakistan and Venezuela – voted against the measure.
“The people of Iran, from all walks of life, of all ethnicities, of all ages, demand change,” said UN human rights chief Volker Turk, urging Iran to end its “disproportionate” use of force against protesters.
“I call on the authorities to immediately stop using violence and harassment against peaceful protesters and release all those arrested for peaceful protest, as well as… a moratorium on the death penalty,” he said.
The resolution is the latest move by the international community to pressure Iran over alleged abuses related to the protests, which erupted in September after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being arrested by “morality police” for violating the strict dress of the country. code.
Since then, the demonstrations have spread across the country, prompting a harsh response from the Iranian authorities.
Turk said more than 300 people had been killed since Amini’s death, while 14,000 had been arrested, including children. He added that Tehran had not responded to his request to visit the country.
In a statement announcing new sanctions against Iranian security officials earlier this week, the United States said the crackdown has been “particularly severe” in areas of the country with large Kurdish populations.
Iran has not given the death toll of the protesters.
Thursday’s vote drew praise from several countries, including the US, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying it showed the UN’s top human rights body “recognizes the seriousness of the situation in Iran.”
“The fact-finding mission established today will help ensure that those involved in the ongoing violent repression of the Iranian people are identified and their actions documented,” Blinken said in a statement.
Human rights groups also welcomed the resolution. Amnesty International described it as “historic”, while Human Rights Watch said it was “a positive step towards accountability”.
But it was condemned by Iran’s representative at the Geneva meeting, Khadijeh Karimi, who called it “politically motivated.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets that the Human Rights Council is being abused once again by some arrogant states to antagonize a sovereign UN member state that is fully committed to its obligation to promote and protect human rights,” it said. Karimi, Iran’s Deputy to the Vice President for Women and Family Affairs.
He also accused Western nations of ignoring human rights abuses in Yemen and the occupied Palestinian territories.
“Reducing the common cause of human rights to a tool for the political ends of specific groups in Western countries is appalling and shameful,” he added.
The resolution, introduced by Germany and Iceland, calls for Tehran to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on Iran, including by granting access to areas inside Iranian territory, such as places of detention.
The team is expected to report to the council in mid-2023.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on all countries to support the independent investigation to ensure that “those responsible are held to account.”
“If we don’t collect the evidence today … justice will never reach the victims,” Baerbock said.