UN human rights Volker Turk
The UN human rights chief on Thursday called for independent and transparent investigations into rights violations during protests in Iran, where killings are said to have passed 400 this year, and 85 people are on death row for alleged offenses committed as children.
Volker Turk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, was speaking at a special session of the Human Rights Council on Iran's "deteriorating human rights situation" following an official request by Germany and Iceland, supported by at least 49 states.
"We are now in a full-fledged human rights crisis," said Turk.
"It pains me to see what is happening in the country. The images of children killed. Of women beaten in the streets. Of people sentenced to death," he added.
The resolution put forward by Germany and Iceland calls on Iran to end "discrimination and violence against women and girls in public and private life and in law, and in practice and to uphold all human rights, including the right to freedoms of opinion, expression, and opinion, peaceful assembly, association and the right to freedom of religion or belief.”
Turk said the world has seen waves of protests over the past years, calling for justice, equality, dignity, and respect for human rights.
"They have been met with violence and repression. The unnecessary and disproportionate use of force must come to an end," said the human rights chief.
"The old methods and the fortress mentality of those who wield power simply don't work. In fact, they only aggravate the situation," he said.
Turk said that the current protests, sparked on Sept. 16 following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman, have expanded throughout the country.
"Protests have reportedly taken place in over 150 cities and 140 universities in all 31 provinces of Iran," Turk said.
"Minority regions continue to be disproportionately affected, especially in terms of casualties. Some of their representatives in Parliament have voiced criticism towards the response by the authorities to these protests," he added.
Khadijeh Karimi, deputy of Iran’s vice president for women and family affairs, addressed the council on behalf of Iran.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets that the Human Rights Council is abused once again by some arrogant States to antagonize a sovereign UN Member State that is fully committed to its obligation to promote and protect human rights,” she said.
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