UN Human Rights Council Set To Censure Iran Violations

Wednesday, 11/16/2022

In a special session to address Iran’s worsening rights violations, the UN Human Rights Council is set to adopt a resolution aimed at holding the Islamic Republic accountable.

Although various United Nations bodies and experts have criticized Iran’s records for years, this would be the first dedicated deliberation and resolution against the behavior of the Islamic Republic.

The 35th special session of the Human Rights Council is set for Wednesday, November 24, following an official request submitted on November 11 by Germany and Iceland, which has been supported by 44 States thus far.

The resolution strongly deplores the reported deaths of at least 304 people, including 41 children, participating in the protests following the death of Mahsa (Jina) Amini in hijab police custody in September, as well as reported arbitrary arrests of thousands participating in the protests.

Urging the Islamic Republic to promote, protect and fulfill human rights, it calls on Tehran to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

According to the draft resolution, the HRC "decides to establish an independent international fact-finding mission to thoroughly investigate, engage with stakeholders and collect evidence of alleged human rights violations." It also urges Tehran “to grant unhindered access to the country without any delay and to provide the members of the fact-finding mission with all information necessary to allow for the proper fulfilment of their mandate.”

Tehran has denied entry to successive UN special rapporteurs on human rights for two decades and claims that such a mechanism has political basis and unnecessary.

Referring to the crackdown on protests, which has led to arrest of more than 15,000 people, the resolution stressed the need “for accountability for human rights violations, which is critical for the prevention of further violations.”

It also recalls the Islamic Republic’s “obligation to ensure prompt, effective, independent, transparent and impartial investigations into all reported human rights violations.”

Reaffirming the human rights of women and girls in Iran, the resolution expresses deep concerns “about allegations of pervasive human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran, including reports of women and girls being arbitrarily arrested and detained, beaten and sexually assaulted for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The resolution also touched on reports of the arbitrary arrest of minors for participating in protests, their incarceration at “psychological centers” and “preventative” detentions of civil society activists to restrict their ability to participate in or organize peaceful protests.

The UNHRC member states also voiced concerns about restrictions on communications affecting landline and mobile usage, including Internet shutdowns and blocking of social media platforms, which undermine the exercise of human rights, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression. They called on the authorities to fully restore Internet access, underlining the importance of maintaining free, open, interoperable, reliable and secure access to the Internet.

In another global move over Iran’s denial of women's rights and crackdown on protests, calls on the UN to expel the Islamic Republic from the UN Commission on the Status of Women are also getting stronger with Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands and the United States behind the push. UN Watch, an independent non-governmental human rights group based in Geneva, has drafted a resolution for the 54-nation UN Economic Social Council (ECOSOC) to remove Iran.

Protests on Tuesday, November 15 were the largest in a month and are set to continue this week as local media Wednesday reported the sentencing of a second detainee to death by regime courts.

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