Iran: More than 760,000 people around the world calling for UN investigative mechanism on Iran

More than 760,000 people in 218 countries and territories have added their voices to petitions calling for the creation of an independent UN investigative mechanism as a step towards holding Iran accountable for the most serious crimes under international law committed in Iran, it said today Amnesty International.

On November 2, Nazanin Boniadi, a British-Iranian actor and Amnesty International’s UK ambassador, delivered the people’s demands for immediate action from the UN Human Rights Council to UN officials in New York. National Amnesty International organizations around the world have also sent petitions to their foreign ministries.

“The people of Iran continue to courageously protest and call for an end to widespread repression and the establishment of a political system that respects equality and protects human rights.” Will member states of the UN Human Rights Council respond to the cries of people in Iran and activists around the world for the urgent establishment of an international mechanism for the crimes committed by the Iranian authorities?” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director East and North Africa.

“Inaction by the international community has encouraged Iranian authorities to increase their unlawful use of force, including lethal force, against protesters, killing more than 200 people, including 30 children, since the protests began on September 16. The UN Human Rights Council should immediately convene a special session on Iran to prevent further crimes under international law and human rights violations, including unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment against all arbitrarily detained since the authorities’ crackdown on the protests.

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Last week, 10 UN experts, including the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, called on the Human Rights Council to take urgent action, including by establishing an international mechanism to investigate Iran in a special session. This call is also supported by Amnesty International and 42 other human rights organizations. The German foreign minister has announced that Germany will advocate for the convening of a special session to establish a UN mechanism for Iran.

Vicious circles of protest bloodshed

The Iranian authorities’ violent crackdown on ongoing protests in Iran that erupted following the death in custody of Mahsa (Zina) Amini on September 16, 2022, is the latest in a cycle of attacks by Iranian authorities against people expressing legitimate their grievances in Iran from December 2017 to January 2018. Emboldened by widespread impunity, Iranian authorities have dealt with successive waves of mass protests since then, including those in November 2019, January 2020, July 2021, August 2021, November 2021 and May 2022, with a militarized response.

Will member states of the UN Human Rights Council respond to the cries of people in Iran and activists around the world…?

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International

Amnesty International has already documented crimes under international law and serious human rights violations by the Iranian authorities, including unlawful killings following the unjustified use of deadly force, mass arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, and the sentencing of individuals to long prison sentences or death after grossly unfair trials.

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Iranian authorities have ignored repeated calls from the international community to open criminal investigations into unlawful killings carried out in the context of protests since December 2017. Instead, they have sought to destroy evidence of their crimes while pursuing survivors and relatives of victims who have called for truth, justice and reparation.

To break this deadly cycle, a UN mechanism must be urgently established with a mandate to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the crimes under international law and serious human rights violations committed by the Iranian authorities in suppressing successive national protests since December 2017 .until January 2018 protested in order to seek accountability.

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Background

People from around the world took action to call on UN countries to urgently establish an independent UN investigative mechanism, including from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Egypt, France, Italy, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Korea , Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey and others.

Amnesty International previously revealed how Iran’s top military authority had instructed armed forces in all provinces to “crack down” on protesters who took to the streets following the custodial death of Mahsa (Zina) Amini after she was arrested by Iran’s “morality” police, who routinely arbitrarily detain women who disobey abusive and discriminatory headscarf laws. The organization has also repeatedly documented the widespread, unjustified use of lethal force and firearms by Iran’s security forces, who either intended to kill protesters or should have known with a reasonable degree of certainty that their use of firearms would result in until death.

Last week, Iran’s security forces stepped up their use of illegal force, using live ammunition, metal balls and tear gas against protesters and mourners who had gathered in at least four provinces, including Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah and Lorestan provinces.

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