Advocacy statements

Statement during special session on Iran

  • Date / 2022
  • Location / Iran
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Item / Urgent Debate

International Humanist and Ethical Union

 Oral Statement

 UN Human Rights Council

 35th Special Session: ​​​​​The deteriorating situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially with respect to women and children ​​​​​​​​​​

 24 November 2022


Mr. President,

For over two months, Iranian citizens have been peacefully protesting under the banner of “women, life, and freedom”.

The Iranian authorities have responded with unlawful and extreme force. Hundreds of civilians have lost their lives, many of them women and children.[1] In an attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility, the government is spreading a false narrative blaming the deaths on “terrorists” acting for foreign powers.[2]

Many individuals have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, some through a manifestly unlawful policy of “preventative detention” used to imprison, without evidence, known human rights activists.[3]

As the Special Rapporteur on Iran has made clear, state violence in Iran is enabled by long-standing and institutionalized impunity for mass human rights violations. This absence of accountability has seen a President rise to power despite evidence of his involvement in the 1988 prison massacre.[4] Likewise, those within Iran who have called for accountability for the killing of protesters in 2019 have faced harassment and reprisals.[5]

The Council cannot turn a blind eye to Iranian protesters standing up for justice and equality. Neither of which can be achieved without first restoring freedom of choice to Iranian women, and bringing an end to patriarchal and discriminatory laws, such as the compulsory veiling law which deprived 22 year old Mahsa Amini of her life, freedom and dignity.

In this context, we urge member states to vote in favour of establishing an independent, investigative mechanism on Iran and to use all diplomatic means available to them to demand the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained in connection with the protests.

Thank you.

[1] https://iranwire.com/en/politics/110126-at-least-378-killed-in-iran-protest-crackdown-rights-group-says/

[2] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/10/iran-at-least-82-baluchi-protesters-and-bystanders-killed-in-bloody-crackdown/

[3] https://iranwire.com/en/prisoners/107810-hundreds-arrested-in-iran-as-judiciary-approves-preventative-detentions/

[4] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/press-release/2021/06/iran-ebrahim-raisi-must-be-investigated-for-crimes-against-humanity/

[5] A/77/181

Suggested academic reference

'Statement during special session on Iran', Humanists International

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