UN approves mission to investigate repression in Iran

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Geneva.- The UN Human Rights Council approved on Thursday the creation of an independent mission to investigate possible violations of fundamental freedoms committed by the Iranian regime during protests after the death in September of the young Mahsa Amini.

The resolution that includes this new inquiry mechanism was approved by 25 votes in favour, 16 abstentions and six against, among the latter that of China, which had previously tried in vain to remove from the resolution the text alluding to the creation of the fact-finding mission.

This mission will aim to “collect and analyze evidence” of human rights violations in the context of a crackdown that has already left more than 300 people dead – including 40 children – and nearly 15,000 detained.

The experts who compose it (generally three lawyers or other specialists in international law) will present their first results of investigations during the 53rd session of the Council, in mid-2023.

The approved resolution also calls on Iran to allow unhindered access to these experts so that they can conduct their investigations freely, as well as to the UN special rapporteur for this country, Javaid Rehman.

The text, which in addition to China voted against Cuba, Eritrea, Armenia, Pakistan and Venezuela, calls on the Iranian government “to put an end to all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls in public and private life”.

It also demands that Tehran put an end to extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary arrests, torture and other abuses against peaceful protesters who have staged more than two months of demonstrations.

China tried to neutralize the resolution at the last minute by calling for the withdrawal of the paragraph calling for the creation of a fact-finding mission, forcing a first vote on this possible amendment which obtained only six votes out of 47 members of the advice.

This strategy has drawn protests from countries like Germany, one of the main promoters of the repression in Iran brought to the Council for debate and which denounced China presenting a last-minute amendment with the intention of deactivating the text. .

On the Iranian side, the international director of the vice-presidency for women and families, Khadijeh Karimi, intervened to warn that her government “will not recognize this mechanism (the fact-finding mission) nor a United Nations mandate dedicated to failure”.

He also blamed Germany for its leadership during today’s session and assured that this country, “since the Second World War, is not qualified to speak about women’s rights”.

Hours before the vote, the international mission had been backed by Special Rapporteur Rehman, who underscored its importance in responding to victims’ claims in a country where “structural impunity has fueled a pattern of murders, enforced disappearances, torture and abuse”.

Rehman pointed out that, in keeping with these ancient practices, the Iranian state has ordered “violent repression at all costs” since the protests began, with presidential orders to act “ruthlessly” against protesters.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, added during the Council session that “the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force in Iran must end”, a country which is mired in ” an open crisis of human rights”. “.

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