Geneva, Nov 24 (EFE).- The ongoing unrest and state crackdown have spiraled into a “full-fledged human rights crisis” in Iran, where “change is inevitable,” the United Nations’ human rights chief said Thursday.
Volker Türk’s address to a special session of the UN Human Rights Council came amid calls for an international investigation into the repression of protests in Iran and the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, which triggered the violent unrest in September.
“It pains me to see what is happening in the country. The images of children killed. Of women beaten in the streets. Of people sentenced to death,” he said.
“We have seen waves of protests over the past years, calling for justice, equality, dignity and respect for human rights. They have been met with violence and repression. The unnecessary and disproportionate use of force must come to an end.
“The old methods and the fortress mentality of those who wield power simply don’t work. In fact, they only aggravate the situation. We are now in a full-fledged human rights crisis,” he added.
Amini died in Tehran on September 16, days after she was arrested by Iran’s so-called morality police for allegedly not wearing her headscarf correctly in accordance with Iran’s strict Islamic dress code for women in public.
Türk underlined estimates from “reliable sources” that over 300 people had been killed so far in the state crackdown on protests, among them 40 children, and that 14,000 people had been arrested.
“This is a staggering number.”
The UN’s special rapporteur for Iran Javaid Rehman reiterated his call during the special session for an independent and international probe into Masha’s death and the subsequent protests.
“The Iranian government has consistently presented unsubstantiated reports and reiterated assertions claiming that Jina Mahsa did not die as a result of any violence or beatings,” he told the council.
“Structural impunity has fuelled widespread patterns of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other serious human rights violations in Iran,” Rehman added.
He said government repression of the protests had intensified and that between 60 and 70 deaths were reported in the last week, especially in Kurdish areas of the country where Amini was from. EFE