Geneva (AFP) – The United Nations Human Rights Council is discussing Thursday the bloody repression of the demonstrations that have rocked Iran for more than two months, in a meeting that may lead to approving the principle of opening an international investigation into the situation in the country.
The 47 countries of the Council will hold an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the “deterioration of the human rights situation” in Iran, at the request of more than fifty member states of the United Nations and at the initiative of Germany and Iceland.
The suppression of the demonstrations led to the deaths of at least 416 people, including 51 children, according to the Human Rights Organization in Iran, which is based in Oslo.
The session is taking place in light of the protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, days after she was arrested for violating the Islamic Republic’s dress code.
With time, the demonstrations turned into protests against the authority, unprecedented in size and nature since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Thousands of peaceful demonstrators, including many women and children, lawyers, activists and journalists, were arrested, according to United Nations human rights experts. The judiciary has so far issued six death sentences in connection with the demonstrations.
On Thursday, the council will decide on forming a team of investigators to shed light on all human rights violations related to the demonstrations.
According to the draft resolution submitted by Germany and Iceland, the independent international investigation mission will also take into account “gender dimensions”.
The goal is to collect and preserve evidence of abuse in anticipation of possible prosecution.
German Foreign Minister Analina Baerbock, who will attend Geneva Thursday, stressed in a tweet that conducting an investigation is essential, noting the importance of “holding those responsible accountable for their actions in relation to the victims.”
The new Austrian High Commissioner, Volker Turk, who denounced the suppression of the demonstrations, will open the session, which is expected to continue throughout the day.
Numerous diplomats, human rights activists, and Iran experts have expressed support for the initiative.
US Ambassador Michele Taylor said, “We must do everything in our power to uncover the truth about what is going on in Iran and support the Iranian people’s demand for justice and responsibility.”
Iran, for its part, seeks to gather a sufficient number of allies to thwart the decision.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry recently wrote in a tweet that “with a long history of colonialism and human rights violations in other countries, the United States and Europe are not qualified to defend human rights.”
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian also wrote on Twitter, addressing his German counterpart, that his country’s response to Germany’s “provocative and non-diplomatic positions” would be “proportionate and firm.”
It is not yet certain that the decision will be adopted.
Western diplomats in Geneva expressed cautious optimism, but German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christopher Burger acknowledged that “it is not certain that we will get a majority.”
And there is growing resistance, prompted by Russia, China and Iran itself, within the council to the efforts often undertaken by Western democracies to condemn countries for accusing them of committing human rights violations.
Westerners suffered a major setback last month when they tried to include Beijing’s repression in Xinjiang on the council’s agenda.
“Meant to pass” the resolution
However, Iran may find it more difficult to obstruct the resolution targeting it because its influence is much lower than that of Beijing.
The council has previously expressed its concerns about Tehran’s outcome in terms of human rights by appointing in 2011 a special rapporteur on Iran, who renews his mission every year.
Omid Mimarian, an analyst with the “Democracy Now for the Arab World” organization, said that “the resolution is supposed to be passed,” considering that this “will give a great boost to the morale” of the demonstrators and will warn those responsible for the repression that “the rest of the world will not be safe for them.”
© 2022 AFP