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UNSC Arria Formula on Iran: Remarks by Dr. Shirin Ebadi

November 2, 2022

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The fact that finally Iranian voices of protest are heard in the international community brings a sense of Hope to the people of Iran.

I would like to thank you for organizing this meeting and giving me the opportunity to speak. Since the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran already talked about the recent events, there is no need to repeat any further statement in this regard. I would just remind you that the demand for justice by the family of a young girl who was killed in the street by government agents and whose killing caused the recent protests, has so far yielded no results. In the meantime, the two journalists who took a photo of that girl in the hospital and published a report on her funeral in some Iranian newspapers are now in prison on the charges of espionage – I am talking about a country whose government deems no punishment for the murder but considers the journalism a punishable crime. In this situation, the people of Iran ask the Western governments, especially the United States of America, to refrain from subscribing any type of agreements that will help the survival of the regime, as the Islamic Republic does not spend the funds for the welfare of the people, but on the contrary provides and buys more weapons, which in turn will cause more killings in Iran and the region.

Another request of the people is that the United Nations form a commission of appointed main members to investigate the situation of human rights and the recent repressions in Iran. I remind you that such a commission was previously formed in the case of Myanmar, and we hope that a similar decision will be made for Iran.

The scope of the government’s violence has even extended to the hospitals, as they identify and detain people who have been injured in the gatherings and seek treatment in the hospital. If the medical staff persist in the treatment of the injured individuals, they are subject to be arrested, and in one case, tear gas was used in the hospital premises. To oppose the oppression of the people in Iran, I request the governments of the free world to withdraw their ambassadors from Iran and reduce the level of political relations with Iran from ambassadors to charge d’ affaires.

The other request for the governments who believe in freedom of expression and information is to prevent Islamic Republic from cutting off the internet and committing a massacre in the absence of the media, the same way they butchered 1,500 people in 2019 who were only protesting the overnight gasoline price increase. Help the people of Iran not to lose their connection with the world.   

Despite being a signatory to the human rights conventions and currently a member of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Islamic Republic takes refuge in cultural relativism every time it is accused of violating human rights and justifies its violence with people’s religion and culture while affirming and implementing discriminatory laws against women, religious, ethnic and gender minorities.

Efforts of the Iranian people to change the situation and implement reforms have constantly hit the hard wall and now they will not settle for anything but a democratic and secular government. In the recent protests, that have been going on incessantly for almost two months in more than one hundred cities across the country, Iranians are shouting the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom.” To fulfill such a slogan, a government in Iran must respect the standards of equality and human rights, which in turn assure alleviation of tensions in the region.

Many young people in Iran were killed for freedom and democracy, don’t let the Islamic Republic impose more grief on peoples’ lives. We will be grateful for your standing on the right side of history.