World

UN rights council to hold urgent session on Iran


The UN Human Rights Council said on Monday it would hold an urgent session on Iran, with backers pushing for an international investigation into the deadly crackdown on mass protests rocking the country.

The United Nations' highest rights body said a special session on "the deteriorating human rights situation" in Iran would be held on November 24.

The decision comes after the German and Icelandic ambassadors to the UN in Geneva submitted a request for such a meeting late on Friday.

The support of 16 of the Human Rights Council's 47 members — more than a third — is required to convene a special session outside the three regular ones held each year.

So far, 44 countries, including 17 Council members, have backed the call, the body said.

Read more: Iran issues first death sentence after 'riots'

The request follows eight weeks of protests in Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested for an alleged breach of the country's strict dress rules for women based on Islamic sharia law.

At least 326 people have been killed in the crackdown on the protests, according to the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR), as the demonstrations have grown into a broad movement against the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 fall of the shah.

Thousands of peaceful protesters have also been arrested, according to UN rights experts, including many women, children, lawyers, activists and journalists.

In an early draft of the resolution that Germany and Iceland are due to present prior to the special session, they call on the council to create a high-level international investigation to probe all alleged violations connected with the protests in Iran.

The so-called independent international fact-finding mission should include "the gender dimensions of such violations" in its investigations, according to the text, seen by AFP.

The draft resolution, which could still change, calls for the investigators to "collect, consolidate and analyse evidence of such violations, and to preserve evidence."

This should be done "in view of cooperation with any future legal proceedings in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have, or may in the future have, jurisdiction," it said.

The draft text called on Tehran to "cooperate fully" with the investigators, who it said should present an oral update to the council during its regular June session next year, and a full report in March 2024.

The meeting on November 24 will be the 35th special session held by the UN Human Rights Council since it was founded in 2006, and the first called on Iran.


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