35th Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council
24 November 2022
Delivered by Bahar Saba
I am delivering this statement on behalf of ARTICLE 19 and Impact Iran.
We welcome the Human Rights Council’s convening of a special session on the ongoing situation in Iran and strongly support the establishment of an international independent investigative body to address the ongoing and systemic impunity in the country.
Since the start of the popular uprising in September, each new day has brought with it reports of more bloodshed. Iran’s security forces have brazenly opened fire on protestors and bystanders unlawfully killing hundreds of children, women and men and injuring thousands across the country. The oppressed Baluchi and Kurdish minorities have borne the brunt of this deadly crackdown.
The authorities have arbitrarily arrested and detained thousands of protestors and human rights defenders including womens’ rights defenders, journalists and media workers, and lawyers. They have subjected families of victims to intimidation, harassment and persecution. At least six people have been sentenced to death in summary show trials. Many more are at risk of the death penalty.
Authorities commit these violations while imposing internet shutdowns and disruptions to conceal their deadly crackdown, and use local systems of technology embedded within intelligence to track and arrest protesters.
Emboldened by historical and systemic impunity, the authorities continue to commit these grave violations and international crimes as we gather here today.
The people of Iran, with women and youth at the forefront, are bravely risking their lives and liberty to demand freedom, justice and dignity. They expect the international community to defend their human rights and not to look away.
A fact finding mission to investigate grave violations of human rights and to gather, preserve and analyse evidence is urgently needed to address this ongoing crisis of impunity and to deter further protest bloodshed.
We call on members of this Council to stand on the right side of history at this watershed moment and fulfill their responsibility by effectively responding to calls from victims and human rights defenders in Iran and the Council’s own independent experts to establish this accountability mechanism.
I thank you.