Khadijah Karimi, representative of Iran

The UN Human Rights Council has voted to establish a fact-finding mission to investigate the deadly crackdown on anti-government protests in Iran. Western diplomats say the independent inquiry will identify those responsible for human rights abuses and send a strong message of support for the country’s women.

Iran has described such missions as aggressive political activities. At the opening session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN Human Rights chief Volker Turk warned of the crisis. He said that in the last nine weeks, about 14,000 people have been detained and 300 people have died, which is completely unacceptable.

A women-led movement has spread widely in the country against the death of a young woman named Mahsa Amini in security custody. The 22-year-old woman was arrested by the country’s morality police for violating hijab laws. Then this movement spread to at least 150 cities and 140 universities in the country. The movement is now considered the biggest challenge to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

However, 25 countries voted in favor of the fact-finding mission to investigate these events in Iran, but 16 countries abstained from voting. Six other countries voted against the proposal. A last-minute amendment proposal came from China but was not accepted.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said it would help identify those responsible for Iran’s violent crackdown on protests.

But the BBC’s Geneva correspondent says Iran is unlikely to allow such a committee to operate there. However, the United Nations has completed investigations in Syria and Myanmar from a distance.

The head of the United Nations human rights agency has sharply criticized Iran’s security forces. He criticized the use of lethal weapons as well as disregard for international norms to quell the protests. Germany’s foreign minister said at the council meeting that if all the evidence is not collected now, the victims will never get justice.

But Iran’s representative, Khadijah Karimi, said Western countries lacked moral acceptance. He said, ‘Using human rights for political purposes is a shame.’

China’s ambassador also warned against using human rights as a weapon to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

Meanwhile, Iran’s semi-government media reported on Thursday that the country’s footballer Baria Ghafouri has been detained on suspicion of anti-state propaganda.

The former Iranian national team player was also reported to have criticized the government and supported the protesters. -BBC

(25 November)