Iran protests: UN Human Rights Council votes to investigate regime’s violent response
The UN voted to launch an investigation into Iran’s crackdown on protests across the country over the past two months.
The Human Rights Council will appoint an independent investigator to complete a fact-finding mission into Tehran’s response to the protests after the council approved the motion on Thursday. Council chief Volker Turk said Iran was in a “full-fledged” crisis and called the government’s actions “unacceptable” and “disproportionate” in his opening speech.
Volker noted that at least 300 people have died and more than 14,000 have been arrested since the protests began in mid-September. Some estimates point to 350 dead and more than 15,000 arrested.
“Iranian officials will not be able to perpetrate this violent repression anonymously,” US Ambassador to the HRC Michele Taylor said of the vote, according to The Guardian. “The international community is watching.”
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But Iran’s representative at the meeting, Khadijeh Karimi, accused the West of using the council to attack her country in a “horrific and shameful” move.
The protests began in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in hospital after falling into a coma following an alleged beating by the country’s morality police. Officers had arrested Amini for violating the country’s hijab (headscarf) laws.
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What began as demonstrations in the capital spread to more than 140 cities and towns across the country, becoming the biggest challenges to the regime since its creation after the 1979 revolution.
Protesters have even gone so far as to attack historic institutions, including burning a museum dedicated to the regime’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised the vote for leaving “no doubt” that the council “recognizes the seriousness of the situation in Iran”, arguing that the fact-finding mission “will ensure than those involved in Iran’s ongoing violent crackdown.” people are identified and their actions are documented.”
The mission will collect evidence of the regime’s actions, which can then be used in legal proceedings before the world court.
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The council has faced a series of challenges to its validity and authority in recent years after the United States initially withdrew amid concerns that the council had lost its purpose. He also failed to pass a motion to investigate China over its treatment of its Uyghur population.
Reuters contributed to this report.