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Human Rights Council adopts resolution on the human rights situation in Iran

Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution tabled by Iceland and Germany to set up an international independent fact-finding mission to investigate ongoing human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran related to the protests happening since 16 September 2022.

The resolution was adopted at today's special session of the Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran. 

The Foreign Ministers of Iceland and Germany, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir and Annalena Baerbock, took part in today’s discussion. In the last several weeks, large demonstrations have been ongoing in Iran, led by women and girls who have been fighting for the enjoyment of basic human rights. The Iranian authorities have responded with violent crackdown towards protesters. Since protests erupted in mid-September it is estimated that hundreds of people have been killed, thereof around 40 children. 

Iceland and Germany, supported by around sixty UN member states, therefore requested the Human Rights Council to convene a special session. 

In her address, Minister for Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, spoke of Jina Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman whose death in the custody of the Iranian morality police last September sparked the current protests. “It is beyond my understanding why the authorities of any state would decide to so widely and severely violate the human rights of its citizens, precisely the people they are duty bound to protect. At the same time, I admire the courage of the people in Iran who put their lives in danger to peacefully demand freedom and equality,” stated Minister Gylfadóttir in her address. 

The Minister went on to urge the Council’s member states to adopt a resolution put before the Council by Iceland and Germany, on setting up a fact-finding mission to start investing the ongoing human rights violations.  The resolution was put to the vote this afternoon and was adopted with 25 votes. Six member states of the Human Rights Council voted against and 16 abstained from the vote. 

Minister Gylfadóttir stated: “It is our duty to show solidarity with the women of Iran and other citizens of the country. Today’s Human Rights Council adoption of the resolution is a clear and explicit message from the international community to Teheran’s theocratic government. Today, a crucial step was taken towards holding accountable those who have committed atrocities or ordered atrocities to be committed against innocent citizens. I hope, for their sake and the sake of all those who have been hurt by the cruel actions of the Iranian authorities, that this will only be the first of many such steps towards this goal.” 

Ministers Gylfadóttir and Baerbock held a short press conference in connection with these discussions. In the afternoon, the Minister had a meeting with the newly-appointed United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, where the focal points were Iceland’s contribution to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Iceland’s candidacy for the Human Rights Council in 2025-2027, and the current and future global human rights situation. The Minister also met with Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, since Iceland annually leads the Human Rights Council’s resolution that his mandate is based on.

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