STORY: Special Session on Iran – Human Rights Council
TRT: 3 mins 48s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 24 November 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Human Rights Council mulls call for probe into Iran crisis
UN human rights chief Volker Türk called on Thursday for an independent investigation into ongoing deadly violence against protesters in Iran, where security forces have used “live ammunition, birdshot and other metal pellets, teargas and batons”, he told the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Meeting in special session at the request of Germany in response to ongoing protests in Iran that were sparked by the death in September in police custody of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini, Mr. Türk criticized the “the fortress mentality of those who wield power” in Iran, before insisting that the “unnecessary and disproportionate use of force” must end.
“It pains me to see what is happening in the country,” he told the packed chamber. “The images of children killed. Of women beaten in the streets. Of people sentenced to death.”
The UN High Commissioner highlighted how the security forces, “notably the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Basij forces have used live ammunition, birdshot and other metal pellets, teargas and batons” against the protest movement as it has spread into a reported 150 cities and 140 universities in all provinces of Iran.
Before calling for an independent probe into all rights violations, the High Commissioner noted that his Office had received “multiple communications” from Iran about the episode, “including domestic investigations”. These efforts “have failed to meet international standards of impartiality, independence and transparency”, Mr. Türk said.
Responding to the High Commissioner’s comments, Iran’s representative, Khadijeh Karimi, Deputy of the Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, insisted that after Ms. Amini’s death, “necessary measures” had been taken to seek justice by the Government. These included the formation of an independent, parliamentary investigation commission as well as a forensic medical team.
“However, before the formal announcement of the probe analysis, the biased and hasty reaction of a number of Western authorities and their interventions in internal affairs of Iran, turned the peaceful assemblies into riots and violence,” she maintained.
Also speaking at the Special Session – the Council’s 35th since it was founded in 2005 - Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran insisted that in the past week, efforts to silence the protesters had intensified, including against children.
At least 60 to 70 persons have been killed, he said, including five children, mostly from Kurdish areas. He also described as “alarming” the situation in the Kurdish cities of Piranshahr, Javanrood and Mahabad.
“The Iranian Government has consistently presented unsubstantiated reports and reiterated assertions claiming that Jina Mahsa did not die as a result of any violence or beatings,” he said. “In other reports, the Government refutes the killings 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 an estimated 400 who have been killed because they stood up for their right to determine their own life.
Since Ms. Amini’s death following her arrest by Iran’s so-called Morality Police on 13 September, more than 300 people have been killed, including at least 40 children, according to latest UN human rights office information.
At least 15,000 people have been arrested too “and the Iranian regime is now threatening protesters with the death penalty,” said Germany’s Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock: “And why? Only because these women, men and children want to enjoy the rights we all want to enjoy: to live in dignity and without discrimination.”
Echoing that message, United States Ambassador (Human Rights) Michèle Taylor told the Council that the people of Iran were “asking for something so simple, something that most of us here take for granted: the opportunity to speak and to be heard. We applaud their courage, especially the women, girls and young people who are bravely demanding respect for their human rights and accountability for abuses.”