Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has applauded the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for announcing a resolution which establishes an independent, international fact-finding investigation on the alleged human rights violations in Iran.
The motion passed this week with 25 in favour, six against and 16 abstentions. Activists cheered on Thursday after the result was read out by the council president and some diplomats applauded.
It comes after Iran has been gripped by protests since September due to the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody.
The fact-finding mission aims to “thoroughly and independently investigate alleged human rights violations in Iran related to the protests that began on 16 September 2022, with respect to women and children; to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violations; to collect, consolidate and analyse evidence of such violations and preserve evidence”.
The Human Rights Council was told that around 14,000 people, including children, have been arrested while protesting. Security forces have been accused of regularly responding “with excessive force, killing or injuring unarmed demonstrators and bystanders”.
At least 300 people, including at least 40 children have died due to the brutality.
In a joint statement released prior to the vote, CSW and Christian persecution charity Article 18, said: “At their core, the ongoing protests are a cry for freedom: the freedom of the Iranian people to live in a way that corresponds with their beliefs. Mahsa Amini was arrested, and ultimately killed, because she was deemed to have failed to properly adhere to the dress code of the majority faith - a dress code that for nearly 44 years has been imposed on Iranians of all faiths and none. We do not believe that this is right.
“Furthermore, we believe that by imposing such a dress code on all Iranians, the Islamic Republic is failing to abide by its obligations as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which articulates the right to “have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and … to manifest [ones] religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”
Tehran's representative at the Geneva meeting Khadijeh Karimi has accused Western states of using the rights council to target Iran, a move she called "appalling and disgraceful".