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UN Human Rights Council to hold special session on Iran due to ‘deteriorating’ situation

The UN Human Rights Council said, Tuesday, it will hold a special session on Iran’s “deteriorating human rights situation”, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Human Rights Council spokesperson, Rolando Gomez, said at a UN press conference the session on Thursday follows an official request by Germany and Iceland, supported by 49 States.

The session will last a day and the new Human Rights Chief, Volker Turk, will address the hearing.

“This will be his first encounter at the Human Rights Council in his new capacity as High Commissioner,” said Gomez.

At the same press conference, Human Rights Office spokesman, Jeremy Laurence, quoted Turk as saying that rising deaths from protests in Iran, including those of two children at the weekend, and the hardening of security forces’ response, underline the country’s critical situation.

“We urge the authorities to address people’s demands for equality, dignity, and rights – instead of using unnecessary or disproportionate force to suppress the protests,” said Turk.

“The lack of accountability for gross human rights violations in Iran remains persistent and contributes to the growing grievances.”

More than 300 killed

Since the nationwide protests began on 16 September, more than 300 people have been killed, including over 40 children, said the Rights Office.

Two 16-year-old boys were among six killed over the weekend.

“Protesters have been killed in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces, including more than 100 in Sistan and Baluchistan. Iranian official sources have also reported that several security forces have been killed since the start of the protests,” Turk said.

The Human Rights Office quoted sources reporting more than 40 people were killed in various cities in the past week.

“Significant numbers of security forces have also been deployed in recent days,” said Turk.

READ: Iran protests akin to a revolution, but regime not in danger

The Rights Office said that of concern is the authorities’ apparent refusal to release the bodies of those killed to their families or making the release of their bodies conditional on the families not speaking to the media or agreeing to give a false narrative on the cause of death

“Thousands have been detained throughout the country for joining peaceful protests,” said Turk.

6 sentenced to death

“At least six people connected to the protests have been sentenced to death on charges of “moharebeh” or ‘waging war against God,’ or efsad-e fel-arz or ‘corruption on earth.'”

At the same time, a growing number of people, including Iranian celebrities, sportswomen, and men who have expressed support for the protests, have been summoned or arrested, said the Rights Chief.

“We remind the Iranian authorities that, under international human rights law, they have an obligation to respect and ensure the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” said Turk.

The Human Rights Office called on Iran to release all detained for exercising their rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, and to drop the charges against them.

“Our Office also calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately impose a moratorium on the death penalty and to revoke death sentences issued for crimes not qualifying as the most serious crimes under international law,” said Turk.

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