UN Rapporteur: "Tehran does not respond to calls for impartial investigation, increases violence"
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran told a press conference on Thursday that the Iranian authorities have not responded to their calls to carry out "independent, impartial investigations" into rights violations committed during protests following the death of young Mahsa (Zhina) Amini in police custody on 16 September.
Javaid Rehman's briefing at UN Headquarters in New York came just hours after he made a call for a new international probe mechanism.
Rehman said that not only has the Iranian administration ignored calls for impartial investigation into the crackdown which has left at least 250 dead, including 27 children, but it has increased the violence.
He added that the investigations in Iran have "failed the minimum standards of impartiality and independence," while the call for change on the streets under the slogan "women, life and freedom" grows.
Noting that many of the protesters are "young bright intelligent women" and that "they see the world," Rehman said: "Iranian authorities brutal as they are, repressive as they are, they cannot stop young people; they will not be able to stop this movement.”
"Kurdish identity and expression not allowed"
Asked by Rudaw’s Majeed Gly about the situation in Iran's Kurdistan province, the homeland of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, he said:
"Kurdish people historically and in contemporary terms have been denied their fundamental human rights. And I will just give you one example: Zhina is a Kurdish name but she was not allowed to use that name on the national register because the state does not allow Kurdish identity or Kurdish expression in any shape or form.”
"So, this is just a simple example of the repression which the Iranian state uses against the Kurdish people and in fact against other ethnic minorities. And Kurdish people have been denied so many rights, starting from the right to identity, the right to language, the right to represent themselves, the right to expression.”
He noted that this coupled with the death of Amini “ignited” the recent protests.
Joint statement by UN rights experts
Rehman's briefing followed a joint statement released on Wednesday by a group of UN rights experts, who said:
"We are deeply troubled by continued reports of deliberate and unlawful use by the Iranian security forces of live ammunition, metal pellets and buckshot against peaceful unarmed protesters in breach of the principles of legality, precaution, necessity, non-discrimination and proportionality, applicable to the use of force (...) An alarming number of protesters have already been detained and killed, many of whom are children, women and older persons. The Government must instruct police to immediately cease any use of excessive and lethal force and exercise restraint."