Fact-finding mission will investigate alleged human rights violations in Iran, with a particular focus on women and children.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to establish a fact-finding mission to investigate possible abuses in Iran’s crackdown on demonstrations against the governmentwith a special focus on women and children.

Thunderous applause erupted when the 47-member council approved the resolution on Thursday, with 25 countries voting in favor and 16 abstaining. Six countries – Armenia, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Pakistan and Venezuela – voted against the measure.

“The people of Iran, of all walks of life, of all ethnicities, of all ages, are demanding change,” said UN human rights chief Volker Turk, who urged Iran to end its “disproportionate” use of force against the protesters.

“I call on the authorities to immediately stop using force and intimidation against peaceful protesters and to release all those arrested for peaceful protest, as well as… a moratorium on the capital punishment,” he said.

The resolution is the latest move by the international community to pressure Iran over alleged abuses related to the protests, which erupted in September after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being arrested by the “moral police” for violating the country’s strict dress code.

Demonstrations have since spread across the country, leading to a harsh response from the Iranian authorities.

Turk said more than 300 people have been killed since Amini’s death, while 14,000 have been arrested, including children. He added that Tehran had not responded to his request to visit the country.

In a statement announcing new sanctions Speaking to Iranian security officials earlier this week, the United States said the crackdown was “particularly severe” in parts of the country with large Kurdish populations.

Iran has not given a death toll for the demonstrators.

Thursday’s vote was praised by several countries, including the U.Swith Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying it showed that the highest UN rights body “recognizes the seriousness of the situation in Iran”.

“The fact-finding mission launched today will ensure that those involved in the continued violent repression of Iranian people are identified and their actions documented,” Blinken said in a statement.

Human rights groups also celebrated the resolution, with Amnesty International describing it as “historic”, while Human Rights Watch said it was “a welcome step towards accountability”.

But it was convicted by the Iranian representative at the Geneva meeting, Khadijeh Karimi, who called it “politically motivated”.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets that the Human Rights Council is again being misused by some arrogant states to antagonize a sovereign UN member state that is fully committed to its obligation to promote and protect human rights Karimi, Iranian deputy to the vice president for women and family affairs, said.

She also accused Western countries of ignoring human rights violations in Yemen and the occupied territories Palestinian territories.

“To reduce the common cause of human rights to a tool for political ends of specific groups of Western countries is abhorrent and disgraceful,” she added.

The resolution, tabled by Germany and Iceland, demands that Tehran cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on Iran, including by allowing access to areas of Iranian territory, such as detention centers.

The team will report to the council in mid-2023.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on all countries to support the independent investigation to ensure that “those responsible can be held accountable”.

“If we don’t collect the evidence today… there will never be justice for the victims,” ​​Baerbock said.

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