Sara Hossain, the head of UN’s fact-finding mission on Iran delivering remarks the 55th regular session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 18, 2024

UN Investigation Finds Mahsa Amini Death 'Unlawful'

Monday, 03/18/2024

UN’s rapporteur on Iran’s human rights and its fact-finding mission have renewed their call to hold Tehran accountable for its violations, including brutal crackdown on dissent and surging executions.

The Human Rights Council hosted members of the UN's fact-finding mission that was established to investigate Iran’s crackdown on the popular protests of 2022, ignited by the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, arrested for allegedly violating the Islamic dress code.

Her death unleashed months of mass protests across Iran, marking the biggest challenge to Iran's clerical leaders in decades. The mission released an initial report last week, stating that the regime’s crackdown on protests amounts to “crimes against humanity.” 

"Our investigation established that her death was unlawful and caused by physical violence in the custody of state authorities," said Sara Hossain, the chairperson of the mission told the Council in Geneva on Monday.

A woman holds a placard with pictures of, as Iranian call them, martyrs, during a rally of Iranian diaspora in Europe, on the eve of the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, which prompted protests across their country, in Brussels, Belgium September 15, 2023.

She said the protests that followed were marked by "egregious human rights violations", including extra-judicial executions, arbitrary arrests, torture and ill-treatment, as well as rape and sexual violence. "These acts were conducted in the context of a widespread and systematic attack against women and girls, and other persons expressing support for human rights." 

"Some of these serious violations of human rights thus rose to the level of crimes against humanity," she emphasized, adding that since the protests women and girls in Iran were confronted daily by discrimination "affecting virtually all aspects of their private and public lives". 

"It is hard to fathom that in the 21st century, women's access to the most basic service and opportunities, such as schools, universities, hospitals, and courts, or to opportunities for employment in government or other sectors, should be subjected to a wholly arbitrary requirement of wearing the mandatory hijab," she said.

The UN's Iran rapporteur, Javaid Rehman was first to address the 55th regular session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, warning of the "deeply concerning" impunity for serious human rights violations in the country. 

He expressed concern about the high number of executions in Iran, pointing out that the number of hangings increased 43 percent in 2023 in comparison to a year earlier to over 800. Rehman underlined that many of the executions follow trials that do not meet fair trial standards, particularly highlighting the death sentences related to the 2022 protests. 

The rapporteur also decried the regime’s treatment of women who defy the mandatory hijab laws, expressing concerns about the deprivation of their basic rights as a punishment. Iran has intensified punitive measures to enforce its strict hijab laws such as banning defiers from public services and grounding their cars. 

Rehman also highlighted the situation of ethnic and religious minorities, who are disproportionately affected by the death penalty, particularly for drug-related or security offenses. He particularly expressed concern about the harassment, intimidation, targeting, arrest, and detention of human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, and trade union activists, as numbers soared since the 2022 uprising. At least 79 journalists alone were arrested in the year after the protests sparked by the death in morality police custody of Mahsa Amini. 

He emphasized that his mandate has been a platform to highlight and report on violations committed by state authorities and a voice for the millions of Iranians who are victims of the abuses. He called on the member states for the extension of his mandate for another year.

Rehman has been the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran for six years and the UN Human Rights Council is set to vote on the extension in the coming days. The Iranian government has refused to allow Rehman – or any other UN human rights rapporteurs -- to visit Iran since 1992.

After Rehman, the representative of the Iranian government dismissed his report as biased and politically motivated. Tehran’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Zahra Ershadi, reiterated that the country does not recognize Rehman’s mandate and repeated the regime’s propaganda.

Despite mountains of evidence, Iran claims that the human rights conditions in the country is ameliorating and rejects any report that portrays the country’s grim situation. A dominant tool for justification is shifting the spotlight to the situation in Gaza, with Ershadi accusing the West of not taking any serious action on Israel’s killing of civilians in Gaza. The war in Gaza started after Iran-backed Islamist group Hamas invaded Israel and killed 1,200 mostly civilians and took over 250 hostages. 

Following Iran's representative, member states took turns delivering brief remarks. With the exception of Iran's allies such as Russia, North Korea, China, and Venezuela — who defend Tehran's human rights record — nearly all envoys condemned the regime's atrocities and advocated for the extension of Rehman's mandate. 

At the end of the session, Rehman took the floor for his concluding remarks, during which he called on Iran to change its “contemptuous attitude on human rights.” He rebuffed Iran’s allegations of politicization, prejudice and bias, urging the Islamic Republic to allow him to visit the country. 

Rehman also called on Tehran to halt targeting foreign-based media for reporting on the situation in Iran, noting that London-based Iran International and BBC Persian staff as well as their families in the country are under constant threat and persecution and death threats by the authorities. 

Just last month, leaked documents revealed that Tehran’s Revolutionary Court convicted 44 foreign-based journalists and media activists in absentia two years ago over the allegation of “propaganda against the government. At the time of the verdict, the journalists were working for foreign-based Persian-language media outlets including Iran International, BBC Farsi, Manoto, Radio Farda, GEM TV and Voice of America. The document was revealed among a trove of files accessed after the hacktivist group Edalat-e Ali, or Ali’s Justice, breached the servers of the Iranian judiciary.

More News

Titre Aval
IITV News (12) - DC
IITV News (12) - DC via PCR1
Talk Show

The Truth is in Your Voice

Send your Videos and Photos to us