BERLIN– Germany’s foreign minister on Thursday called for a closer look at Iran ahead of a special session of the UN’s top human rights body devoted to the Islamic Republic’s bloody crackdown on protesters.
“All our efforts go to the people who claim their rights with courage and dignity,” said Annalena Baerbock, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a press release. “For these claims alone, they are killed by the hundreds, arrested by the thousands and oppressed by the millions.”
The Human Rights Council was due to debate and vote on a proposal, put forward by Germany and Iceland and backed by dozens of other countries, to set up a team of independent investigators to monitor human rights. man in Iran as protests continue.
The protests were sparked by the death in mid-September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of vice police for breaking a strictly enforced Islamic dress code.
The Geneva session is the latest international effort to pressure Iran over its crackdown, which has already resulted in international sanctions and other measures.
“The Iranian protesters have no seat on the Human Rights Council in Geneva, they themselves have no voice at the United Nations,” said Baerbock, who was due to attend the session. “Today, members of the Human Rights Council can fly over the flag against the injustices, beatings and shootings that the Iranian regime is using to destroy peaceful protests.”
Germany’s and Iceland’s proposal aims to bolster years of scrutiny by the council’s “special rapporteur” on Iran, whose efforts have been rejected by the Islamic Republic’s leadership. Western diplomats say Tehran has waged a quiet campaign in Geneva and beyond to try to avoid scrutiny through the new council resolution being considered on Thursday.
The proposal would set up a “fact-finding mission” to investigate rights violations “especially against women and children” linked to the protests that broke out on September 16. It also demands that Tehran cooperate with the special rapporteur, for example by granting access to Iranian territory, including places of detention.
The team is expected to report to the board in mid-2023.
Amini remains a powerful symbol in the protests which have posed one of the most serious challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 2009 Green Movement protests drew millions to the streets.
At least 426 people have been killed and more than 17,400 people have been arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the unrest.
Activists said Iranian security forces fired heavy gunfire into protesters in a western Kurdish town on Monday, killing at least five people during an anti-government protest at the funeral of two people killed the day before .