Repression must end in Iran, urge UN and Western countries

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Repression must end in Iran, urge UN and Western countries

High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk addresses the assembly during a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in Iran, at the United Nations in Geneva on November 24, 2022.

The bloody crackdown on protests rocking Iran “must stop”, the UN and Western countries urged on Thursday before the Human Rights Council, which must decide whether to launch an international investigation into the abuses of which Tehran is accused.

The people of Iran are crying out for something so simple, something most of us take for granted: the ability to speak up and be heard, US Ambassador Michèle Taylor said. members of his delegation holding up pictures and names of the victims.

The 47 member states of the UN's highest human rights body are urgently discussing the deterioration of the human rights situation at the initiative of Germany and Iceland.

“The unnecessary and disproportionate use of force must stop. Old ways and the beleaguered fortress mentality of those in power just don't work. In fact, they only make the situation worse.

— Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

He denounced those who seek to delegitimize protesters, civil society representatives and journalists and cast them as agents in the service of enemies and foreign states, calling these methods a habitual narrative of tyranny. .

Over the past two months, the crackdown has claimed at least 416 lives, including 51 children, according to the Norway-based NGOIran Human Rights (IHR).

This wave of protest – born out of demands for women after the death of Mahsa Amini, arrested for improperly wearing the Islamic veil, and escalating into a challenge to power – is unprecedented since the Islamic Revolution from 1979.

According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, more than 15,000 people have been arrested. Iranian justice has already handed down six death sentences in connection with the protests.

The Council must decide whether to appoint a team of high-level investigators to light on all human rights violations linked to the repression of demonstrations.

This resolution, if adopted, means a lot. We don't know if […] it can save lives tomorrow. But what we know for sure is that it will mean justice, justice for the people, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters in Geneva.

According to the draft resolution presented by Germany and Iceland, this independent international fact-finding mission, which has little chance of being able to visit Iran, will have to collect the evidence of the violations and keep them in such a way that they can be used for possible future legal proceedings.

"Woman, Life, Freedom". It is with this slogan, so simple and so strong, that Iranian men and women have been recalling, for more than two months, the values ​​they defend, declared the French representative, Emmanuelle Lachaussée.

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Tehran, for its part, is scrambling to find enough allies to defeat the resolution, while the German foreign minister has encouraged countries that generally vote with Iran to have the courage to abstain. According to several diplomatic sources, the resolution should be adopted.

The Iranian representative sent by Tehran, Khadijeh Karimi, accused Western countries of lacking the moral credibility to lecture the x27;Iran, by denouncing American and European sanctions.

Unsurprisingly, China, Venezuela and Cuba lent their support to Iran, with Chinese Ambassador Chen Xu advocating as usual for dialogue and cooperation […] to promote and protect human rights. of human beings.

Pakistan also underlined the importance of obtaining the consent of the country concerned to launch investigations, but Brazil, another country leader among those in development, announced that he would abstain during the vote.

Growing resistance – led by Russia, China or more from Iran – builds in the Council's chambers against efforts often initiated by Western democracies to condemn individual states for human rights abuses.

These countries suffered a bitter defeat last month when they tried to put on the Council's agenda a debate on the repression carried out by r Beijing in the Xinjiang region.

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