Iran: potential crimes against humanity, lack of accountability, according to a leading rights expert

Date:

Iran: potential crimes against humanity, lack of accountability, according to a leading rights expert

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Monday, March 20, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • His statement that Ms Amini’s killing was “not an isolated incident” but “the latest in a long history of horrific violence against women and girls committed by the Iranian authorities” was made in response to a question.

  • The study was released shortly after the condemnation of the “deliberate poisoning of more than 1,200 schoolgirls in Iran’s major cities” by chemical attacks and “the State’s failure to protect them” was made by several independent UN-appointed rights experts, including Mr Rehman.

  • The expert expressed concern about the “disproportionate” application of the death sentence in 2022 to members of racial and religious minorities. “

  • More than half of the victims slain since the start of the protests are from the Baluchi and Kurdish-populated areas”, he claimed, emphasizing that the Baha’i religious minority remained “the most severely oppressed”.

  • Government denialsResponding to the Special Rapporteur’s comments, Ali Bahreini, the Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN Office in Geneva, dismissed the report as “biased” and said that the Council “should distance itself from politicization, stigmatization and stereotyping, which can only create division and confrontation”. 

Presenting his report to the Human Rights Council, Mr Rehman said that the “scale and gravity” of violations committed by Iranian authorities pointed to “the possible commission of international crimes, notably the crimes against humanity of murder, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and sexual violence, and persecution”.

The specialist criticized the “so-called” investigations into Ms Amini’s death as being “neither credible nor transparent,” highlighting that the offenders were not held accountable.

His statement that Ms Amini’s killing was “not an isolated incident” but “the latest in a long history of horrific violence against women and girls committed by the Iranian authorities” was made in response to a question.

The study was released shortly after the condemnation of the “deliberate poisoning of more than 1,200 schoolgirls in Iran’s major cities” by chemical attacks and “the State’s failure to protect them” was made by several independent UN-appointed rights experts, including Mr Rehman. Mr Rehman emphasized in his most recent assessment that the Government has “till recently denied” these attacks.

Special Rapporteurs, like Mr Rehman and other rights experts selected by the UN Human Rights Council, carry out their work on a volunteer and unpaid basis; they are not employees of the UN and operate independently from any government or organization.

Massive repression

The expert expressed outrage at the execution of at least four people “after arbitrary, summary, and sham trials marred by torture allegations” and the sentencing to death of a further 17 people as they turned their attention to the repression the Iranian Government has used against the wave of protests since last September. The protests resulted in the deaths of over 520 people, including 71 children, and hundreds of injuries.

Mr Rehman provided a comprehensive account of the crackdown, claiming that Iranian security forces shot unarmed protestors with live ammunition and that other protesters, including children, had been beaten to death. He claimed that the government recently acknowledged that more than 22,000 people had been detained to stifle “all channels of freedom of speech” through social media and Internet control.

More killings and discrimination against minorities

According to Mr Rehman, the unfortunate events occurring since September 16 have emerged amid “exponentially escalating” human rights breaches in Iran. The number of executions in 2022 was the highest in the previous five years, with a rise in the execution of drug offenders and a steady stream of those given death sentences as minors.

The expert expressed concern about the “disproportionate” application of the death sentence in 2022 to members of racial and religious minorities. “More than half of the overall number of victims slain since the start of the protests are from the Baluchi and Kurdish-populated areas”, he claimed, emphasizing that the Baha’i religious minority remained “the most severely oppressed”.

Government denials

Responding to the Special Rapporteur’s comments, Ali Bahreini, the Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN Office in Geneva, dismissed the report as “biased” and said that the Council “should distance itself from politicization, stigmatization and stereotyping, which can only create division and confrontation”. “All detainees have been released, except those who have committed murder and have private grievances,” he claimed.

Demanding responsibility

In his assessment, Mr Rehman emphasized the “lack of responsibility at the domestic level” in Iran. He expressed his eagerness to work with a recently established international mechanism “to secure justice and accountability for victims of human rights crimes”.

The Human Rights Council voted to form an independent international fact-finding mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran, which will exist until the end of the Council’s fifty-fifth session, which will take place in March 2024, when meeting in a Special Session last November. At the end of the previous year, the fact-finding mission members were chosen.

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