The U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights made a strong appeal to Iranian authorities on Thursday to stop their “unnecessary and disproportionate” use of force against protesters in Iran in a speech to the Human Rights Council on the ongoing crisis.
The body is debating a motion brought by a group of some 50 countries led by Germany and Iceland to create a new investigative fact-finding mission to probe alleged abuses since a wave of protests began over the death in custody of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on September 16.
The meeting is seen as a key test of the West’s clout within the council following a thwarted attempt to create greater scrutiny of China’s human rights record last month.
“We are now in a full-fledged human rights crisis,” High Commissioner of Human Rights Volker Turk said in his first address to the council since starting last month.
“The unnecessary and disproportionate use of force must come to an end,” he said. Turk added that so far, more than 300 people have been killed in the protests, including more than 40 children, while around 14,000 have been arrested.
Protesters in Iran set fire to the Ayatollah’s ancestral home
Iran: U.N. human rights meeting ‘disgraceful’
Iran’s representative Khadijeh Karimi defended the country’s human rights record at the meeting.
“The human rights council is abused once again by some arrogant states to antagonise a sovereign UN member state that is fully committed to its obligation to promote and protect the human rights,” Karimi said during the meeting.
“Reducing the common cause of human rights to a tool for political purposes of specific groups of western countries, is appalling and disgraceful,” she added.
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