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The UN will investigate alleged human rights violations in Iran amid ongoing protests

The UN will investigate alleged human rights violations in Iran amid ongoing protests

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Iran has executed protester Mohsen Shekari

The UN’s Human Rights Council will establish an independent investigation into alleged human rights violations by officials in Iran during protests sparked by the death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini in September.

Protests in Iran, which have largely been led by women and young people, have captured international attention, and will now be subject to a “fact-finding” mission, which will include a focus on gender-based violence.

Here’s what you need to know.

Background

Protests against Iran’s conservative Islamic dictatorship regime began after the death of Amini. She was violently arrested by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating clothing laws, including a requirement for women to cover their hair with a hijab.

Police have claimed that Amini died of a heart attack, though witnesses have said they saw police beat her.

The morality police enforce strict cultural laws imposed under Iran’s conservative regime, including a law requiring women to cover their hair.

Protests

According to the UN, protests have taken place in all 31 of Iran’s provinces, and at over 150 cities and 140 universities.

It’s believed that over 300 people have been killed in the protests, including at least 40 children. Other reports have suggested that up to 445 protestors have been killed.

Over 15,000 protestors are said to have been arrested. The UN believes at least 21 people being detained are facing the death penalty.

The investigation

Establishing the investigation was supported by most countries that voted at the session.

At the start of proceedings, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said the current situation in Iran was “untenable”, and that the forceful measures being used by officials “only aggravate the situation”.

The investigation will seek to establish evidence of alleged human rights violations, which could be used for potential inquiries or investigations in the future.

Iran’s response

Khadijeh Karimi, Iran’s representative at the session, said that proper measures were put in place by her Government to investigate Amini’s death.

She accused Western countries of targeting Iran through the investigation, calling it “appalling and shameful”.

“The Human Rights Council is once again being abused by certain arrogant states to alienate a sovereign member state of the UN.”

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