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Iran is in a ‘full-fledged human rights crisis’, says UN human rights chief

Protests in Iran: Over 14,000 people, including children, have been arrested in connection with the protests.


The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said on Thursday that a “full-fledged” crisis was unfolding in Iran amid a crackdown on protesters.

He said Iran was going through a “full-fledged human rights crisis” as authorities cracked down on anti-regime dissidents, CNN reported.

The Islamic Republic has been gripped by a wave of anti-government protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman detained by morality police in September, allegedly for not wearing her hijab properly.

Turk called for “independent, impartial and transparent investigative processes” into human rights abuses in Iran at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council, CNN reported.

Authorities have unleashed a deadly crackdown on protesters, with reports of forced detentions and physical abuse being used to target the country’s Kurdish minority group.

In a recent CNN investigation, secret testimony revealed sexual violence against protesters, including boys, in Iranian detention centers since the unrest began.

Security forces reportedly responded to protests by using lethal force against unarmed protesters and bystanders who posed “no threat”, Turk told the 47-member council in Geneva.

More than 14,000 people, including children, have been arrested in connection with the protests, according to Turk. He said at least 21 of them are currently facing the death penalty and six have already been sentenced to death, CNN reported.

The unprecedented nationwide uprising has gripped more than 150 cities and 140 universities across Iran’s 31 provinces, Turk added.

“We have received reports that injured protesters are afraid to go to hospital because they risk being arrested by security forces,” he said.

“I am alarmed by reports that even children suspected of taking part in protests are being arrested at school, hundreds of university students have been summoned for questioning, threatened or partially suspended from entering campuses. academics,” Turk said.

The UN rights chief further urged Iran to fully respect the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly, CNN reported.

“No society can be calcified or fossilized as it can be at any given time. To attempt to do so, against the will of its people, is futile,” Turk said.

Meanwhile, Tehran vehemently condemned the “appalling and shameful” emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, just as Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced the creation of a national committee to to investigate protest-related deaths, CNN reported.

Deputy Vice President for Women and Family Affairs in Iran Khadijeh Karimi, who represented Iran at Thursday’s session, condemned Germany’s “politically motivated” decision to convene the session, calling it of “an orchestrated scheme for ulterior motives”. “

Countries like Germany, the UK and France lack “the moral credibility to preach human rights to others and demand a special session on Iran”, Karimi said.

She also defended the conduct of Iran’s security forces and said the government took “necessary action” after Amini’s “unfortunate” death while in the custody of vice police, CNN reported.

The violent reaction of Iranian security forces towards the demonstrators has undermined diplomatic relations between Tehran and Western leaders.

The White House on Wednesday imposed its latest round of sanctions on three officials from Iran’s Kurdish region, after US Secretary Antony Blinken said he was “very concerned that Iranian authorities would escalate violence against protesters.” .

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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