The Council held a special session in response to the crisis sparked by the death in September of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini in police custody and heard Mr Türk criticize the “fortress mentality of those in power” in Iran.
The “unnecessary and disproportionate use of force” must come to an end, he demanded.
“It pains me to see what is happening in the country,” he told the crowded hall. “The pictures of killed children. By women who were beaten in the street. By people sentenced to death.”
The UN high commissioner highlighted how the security forces, “particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Basij troops, have used live ammunition, birdshot and other metal pellets, tear gas and batons” against the protest movement, which has spread to 150 and 140 cities Universities in all provinces of Iran.
Before calling for an independent investigation into all alleged rights violations, the High Commissioner noted that his office had received “several communications” from Iran about the incident, “including domestic investigations.” Those efforts “have failed to meet international standards of impartiality, independence and transparency,” Mr. Turk said.
In response to the High Commissioner’s comments, Iran’s representative, Khadijeh Karimi, Deputy Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, insisted that the government had taken “necessary measures” to ensure justice after Ms Amini’s death. This included the formation of an independent parliamentary commission of inquiry and a forensic team.
“Prior to the formal announcement of the exploratory analysis, however, the biased and hasty response of a number of Western authorities and their interventions in Iran’s internal affairs turned the peaceful gatherings into riots and violence,” she claimed.
Javaid Rehman, special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, also spoke at the special session – the 35th since its inception in 2005 – and insisted efforts to silence protesters had intensified over the past week, including against Children.
Child sacrifice among the dead
At least 60 to 70 people were killed, including five children, mainly from Kurdish areas. He also described the situation in the Kurdish cities of Piranshahr, Javanrood and Mahabad as “alarming”.
“The Iranian government has consistently presented unsubstantiated reports and repeated claims claiming that Jina Mahsa did not die as a result of violence or beatings,” he said. “In other reports, the government refutes the killing of children by security forces, claiming that they committed suicide, fell from a height, were poisoned or killed by anonymous ‘enemy agents’.”
These are three of an estimated 400 killed for standing up for their right to determine their own lives.
Since the death of Ms Amini after her arrest by Iran’s so-called morality police on September 13 for not wearing her hijab properly, more than 300 people, including at least 40 children, have been killed in protests, according to the latest information from the UN Human Rights Office.
At least 15,000 people were also arrested, “and the Iranian regime is now threatening the demonstrators with the death penalty,” said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock from Germany, who originally called for the special session: “And why? Just because these women, men and children want to enjoy the rights we all want to enjoy: to live with dignity and without discrimination.”
Echoing that message, the United States Ambassador for Human Rights in Geneva, Michèle Taylor, told the Council that the people of Iran are “demanding something so simple, something that most of us here take for granted: the opportunity to speak and be heard.” will. We applaud their courage, especially the women, girls and young people who bravely demand respect for their human rights and accountability for human rights abuses.”