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Iran protests: UN rights chief says a ‘full-fledged’ crisis is underway in Iran


Iran is in a “full-fledged human rights crisis” as authorities crack down on anti-regime dissidents, according to the head of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk.

Turk called for “independent, impartial and transparent investigative processes” into human rights abuses in Iran during a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday.

The Islamic Republic has been gripped by a wave of anti-government protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman detained by morality police in September, allegedly for not wearing her hijab properly.

Authorities have since unleashed a deadly crackdown on protesters, with reports of forced detentions and physical abuse being used to target the country’s Kurdish minority group. In a recent CNN investigation, secret testimony revealed sexual violence against protesters, including boys, in Iranian detention centers since the unrest began.

Security forces reportedly responded to protests by using lethal force against unarmed protesters and bystanders who posed “no threat”, Turk told the 47-member council in Geneva.

More than 14,000 people, including children, have been arrested in connection with the protests, according to Turk. He said at least 21 of them are currently facing the death penalty and six have already been sentenced to death.

The unprecedented nationwide uprising has gripped more than 150 cities and 140 universities across Iran’s 31 provinces, Turk added.

Iran protests: UN rights chief says a ‘full-fledged’ crisis is underway in Iran

“We have received reports that injured protesters are afraid to go to hospital because they risk being arrested by security forces,” he said.

“I am alarmed by reports that even children suspected of taking part in protests are being arrested at school, hundreds of university students have been summoned for questioning, threatened or partially suspended from entering campuses. academics.

“I urge those who hold power in Iran to fully respect the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly.

“No society can be calcified or fossilized as it can be at any given time. To attempt to do so, against the will of its people, is futile.

Iran protests: UN rights chief says a ‘full-fledged’ crisis is underway in Iran

Tehran vehemently condemned the “appalling and shameful” emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, just as the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced the creation of a national committee to investigate protest-related deaths.

Vice President for Women and Family Affairs in Iran Khadijeh Karimi, who represented Iran at Thursday’s session, condemned Germany’s “politically motivated” decision to convene the session, calling it an “orchestrated ploy for ulterior motives”. ”

Countries like Germany, the UK and France lack “the moral credibility to preach human rights to others and demand a special session on Iran”, Karimi said.

She also defended the conduct of Iran’s security forces and said the government took “necessary action” after Amini’s “unfortunate” death while in the custody of vice police.

The violent reaction of Iranian security forces towards the demonstrators has undermined diplomatic relations between Tehran and Western leaders.

The White House on Wednesday imposed its latest round of sanctions on three officials from Iran’s Kurdish region, after US Secretary Antony Blinken said he was “deeply concerned that Iranian authorities would escalate violence against demonstrators”.

In an interview with Indian broadcaster NDTV on Thursday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said foreign powers were intervening in Iranian internal affairs and creating “false narratives”.


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