Iran: With more than 300 killed, situation ‘critical’, says UN rights chief

While describing a hardening of the Iranian government’s response to protests that have resulted in more than 300 deaths in the last two months, the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations described the situation as “critical.”

A spokesperson for U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk said at a Geneva news briefing, “The rising number of deaths from protests in Iran, including those of two children at the weekend, and the hardening of the response by security forces, underline the critical situation in the country.” 

Since the murder of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, in morality police custody on September 16 after she was detained for wearing clothing considered “wrong,” the Islamic Republic has been rocked by widespread protests. 

The rallies, which have evolved into a popular uprising by Iranians from all social strata and represent one of the most audacious challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution, have been orchestrated, according to Tehran, by foreign foes and their agents.

As a show of sympathy for the demonstrations, Iran’s World Cup players chose not to sing their national anthem prior to their opening World Cup game on Monday. 

Diplomats, as well as witnesses and victims, are anticipated to attend a discussion on the protests later this week at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

In a suggestion that will be debated during the meeting, a fact-finding mission on the crackdown in Iran is proposed. A UN document demonstrated that any proof of violations that such a body would uncover could eventually be presented before national and international courts.

(with inputs from agencies)

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