New Zealand suspends bilateral human rights dialog with Iran

Sydney, Australia, Oct 31 (EFE).- The government of New Zealand on Monday announced the suspension of its human rights dialog with Iran due to Tehran’s violent suppression of the protests that have rocked the country since September, with over 100 people killed according to activists.

New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said in a statement that the dialog – which was launched in 2018 and has resulted in only one meeting (in 2021) so far – was “no longer tenable” when Iran was “denying basic human rights and violently suppressing protests of those who stand up to them. ”

On Sunday, thousands of Iranian youth again protested across the country in several universities, despite the Revolutionary Guard warning them not to hold the demonstrations.

The protests, which have entered their seventh week, were triggered by the death of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on Sep. 16, three days after her arrest by the moral police for not wearing the Islamic veil properly.

The demonstrations have been heavily repressed by the Basij – a voluntary militia loyal to the establishment – by using teargas and batons

Apart from crushing the protests, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday accused the Iranian authorities of not handing over the corpses of people killed in protests to their families, or only doing so under certain conditions.

The government has also been accused of denying medical attention in the detention centers.

“Recent events continue to show Iran’s position on human rights is deteriorating, not improving,” Mahuta said, adding that violent repression against “women, girls or any other members of Iranian society to prevent their exercise of universal human rights is unacceptable and must end.”

The New Zealand government led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had condemned Amini’s death in a joint statement with 12 other countries and sought a speedy independent probe into the excessive use of force against protesters.

Similarly, Ardern also signed an open letter backed by former US first lady Michelle Obama, former American secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Afghan activist Malala Yousafzai among others, urging the UN to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women.

At least 108 people have been killed and around 12,500 arrested during the ongoing protests in Iran, according to Oslo-based nonprofit Iran Human Rights.

Moreover, Iranian prosecutors have pressed charges against 1,019 people in eight of the country’s 31 provinces for taking part in the protests, and the first trials kicked off in Tehran on Saturday.


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