UN rights chief says Iran must end crackdown on protesters

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United Nations Human Rights Chief Volker Turk warned on Thursday Iran is, “in a full-fledged human rights crisis.”

He was speaking at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on what it called “the deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran” in Geneva.

Turk demanded an end to the “unnecessary” use of force against protesters in Iran.

“From what we could gather, around 14,000 people, including children, have so far been arrested in the context of the protests. This is a staggering number,” he said, adding: “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.”

Germany and Iceland had called for the session on human rights violations when they submitted an official request last week, supported by 44 states so far.

Iran’s deputy of the vice president for women and family affairs, Khadijeh Karimi, said Western countries “lack the moral credibility to preach others on human rights.”

For nearly two months now, Iran has been witnessing women-led protests denouncing the traditional regime.

Although Iran would likely refuse to cooperate with a UN investigation, there are still steps the international community can take to support protesters, Lucy McKernan, the deputy director for United Nations at Human Rights Watch’s Geneva office said.

“We can’t underestimate how showing solidarity to the protests on the ground can give them a sense of support from outside of the country at a time when they are facing this brutal crackdown,” she said. “The international community can offer sanctuary to those fleeing prosecution in Iran.”

Agencies

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