Speech by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Iran

24.11.2022 - Speech

Jina was 22 years old when she was killed. For not wearing her headscarf properly.
Abolfazl was 17 when he skipped school to take part in the protests in Iran and - was killed.
Minoo was 62. At her graveside, her daughter stood with her head shaved and bare.

These are three of an estimated more than 400 who have been killed because they stood up for their right to determine their own life, including at least 40 children.

More than 15,000 have been arrested and the Iranian regime is now threatening protesters with the death penalty.

And why?

Only because these women, men and children want to enjoy the rights we all want to enjoy: to live in dignity and without discrimination.

That is why, prior to today, we have spoken to every state represented in this room, to hear your views and your voices.

Some have told us that we should not single out one country.
I hear you.

The United Nations was founded to protect the sovereignty of every state. But – a regime that uses this power to violate the rights of its own people is violating the very values of our United Nations.

The High Commissioner and the Special Rapporteur have just made this very clear.

What these rights are is not up to anyone’s interpretation.

These rights are clearly stated here, in black and white, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to which Iran is a state party.

I quote:
Article 19: “The right to hold opinions without interference”.
Article 21: “The right of peaceful assembly”.
Article 2: The respect of all people’s rights “without distinction of any kind” – such as gender or political opinion.

On many occasions, we have called upon Iran to respect these rights, to stop the violent crackdown on protesters, the bloodshed, the arbitrary killing, the mass arrests, the death penalties.

The only answer we received was more violence, more deaths. Along with Iran’s continuing refusal to give the United Nations Special Rapporteur access to the country.

That is why we are now proposing that an independent and impartial UN mechanism be established to investigate these human rights violations. So that those responsible can be held to account.

Because impunity prevents justice. Justice for sisters, justice for sons, justice for mothers.

They have names. Jina, Abolfazl, Minoo.
Today is about them.
Today is also a test of our courage, here in the United Nations.
About our courage to speak out. We each represent our state. But we also represent millions of men, women and children.

So I call on you: be the voice of these people, of our people of the United Nations.

As they sing in Iran: “For dancing in the street. For women, life, freedom.”

For our human rights.


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