A wave of protest – born of demands for women’s rights after the death of Mahsa Amini, arrested for improperly wearing the Islamic veil, which turned into a challenge to power – is unprecedented in Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, more than 15,000 people have been arrested. Iranian justice has already pronounced six death sentences in connection with the demonstrations and announced, this week, the arrest in two months of “40 foreigners” accused of involvement in the “riots” in Iran.
Urgently meeting this Thursday at the initiative of Germany and Iceland, the 47 member states of the UN Human Rights Council, the highest in human rights, decided to appoint a team of high-level investigators to shed light on all violations of rights in Iran linked to the repression of demonstrations.
25 for, 6 against, 16 abstentions
The text was voted in by a slightly larger majority than expected, despite a last-minute dilatory maneuver by Beijing: 25 countries voted yes, six no (Armenia, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Pakistan and Venezuela) and 16 abstained.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan sees the vote as “a clear demonstration of growing international commitment to holding the Iranian regime accountable for its brutal suppression of the Iranian people”, according to a tweet.
“The courage and determination of the demonstrators oblige us”, underlined the French representation to the UN, also welcoming the creation of this investigation mechanism.
“The current situation is untenable”
The NGO Amnesty International welcomed “a historic resolution” which marks “an important step towards the end of impunity! while Lucy McKernan of Human Rights Watch called the council’s decision “a welcome step.” During the debates, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, whose request to visit Iran has so far remained a dead letter, called on Tehran to “stop” its “unnecessary and disproportionate to strength”. “The current situation is untenable,” warned Volker Türk, who is calling for “a moratorium on the death penalty” and asking that the government “commit to a process of reform because change is inevitable.”
During the all-day session, many Western diplomats – and among them the German foreign minister and her Icelandic counterpart – denounced the repression of the demonstrations which, in more than two months, left at least 416 dead, including 51 children, according to the NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR), based in Norway.
It should be noted that in the midst of the debate before the Council, the Iranian news agency Fars announced the arrest of the famous footballer Voria Ghafouri, accused of having “insulted and smeared the reputation of the national team (Team Melli) and of engaging in propaganda” against the state.
letelegramme Fr Trans