11/22/2022, 19.19
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UN Human Rights Council to discuss Iran’s crackdown

A special session on Thursday will see whether to launch an international investigation into Iran’s violent repression of protests. Since the latter broke out after the death of Mahsa Amini, at least 378 people have died, including 47 children. Thousands of people have been arrested, including a hundred actors and artists. Members of Iran’s national football team did not sing the national anthem at the World Cup.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is ready to launch an international investigation into the violent repression by the Iranian government after protests broke out following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman.

As a result of the iron fist used by the authorities, at least 378 people, including 47 children, have died since mid-September, when protests began following the death of the young woman. The morality police had taken into custody for not covering her head correctly.

Following a request by Germany and Iceland, the UN agency will hold a special session on Thursday to discuss the “deteriorating human rights situation” in Iran.

Over the past two months, police have made thousands of arrests in an attempt to crush the protest movement, so far without much success. In fact, street demonstrations continue, with women taking a leading role, in the most impressive and comprehensive show of defiance since the Islamic Republic was founded in 1979.

Six people arrested have already been sentenced to death on charges of “sedition” and "corruption on Earth”; others include minors, journalists, activists, and, as reported by Iran’s main motion picture association, about a hundred actors and artists.

Even the country’s national football team, who played their first match at the World Cup in Qatar (losing 6 to 2 to England), silently expressed its solidarity with the demonstrators, refusing to sing the national anthem before the match.

At the UN meeting in Geneva, countries will be called to vote on a draft resolution urging the Council to promote a high-level international investigation to shed light on violence against protesters.

If adopted, the resolution would also authorise the  Council to undertake an independent international fact-finding mission to look into “the gender dimension of such violations” in its investigation.

The draft resolution, which could still change, calls on investigators to “collect, consolidate and analyse evidence of such violations, and to preserve evidence," with a view to future prosecution, and urges Iran to "cooperate fully" with the investigators.

The support of 16 of the Human Rights Council's 47 members -- more than a third -- is required to convene a special session.

Germany and Iceland have so far received the backing of 50 countries for their request for Thursday's session, including 17 council members. This should clinch it.

However, while enough for a special session, this may not be enough for a full-scale international investigation, given the opposition of Russia and China, not to mention Iran.

For German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, an investigation is vital because we “know how important it is for the victims that those responsible are held accountable."

For human rights groups, action is needed. “We're seeing such serious abuses in response to the protests,” said Lucy McKernan of Human Rights Watch.

While the United Nations has criticised Iran’s crackdown, calling for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty, the repression on the ground is getting bloodier, especially against the Kurds.

Yesterday’s missiles and drone attacks by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) against Kurdish resistance groups in exile have sown death and destruction in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Today, reports indicate that about 30 people died over the past week in Iranian Kurdistan, where Mahsa Amini herself came from.

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