Overview:

UN launches fact-finding mission related to Iran protests.

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Protests have spilled into the streets of Iran for more than three months following the untimely death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September. 

With the growing number of protests, deaths, and arrests, the UN Human Rights Council has finally taken notice. United Nations Human Rights Chief Volker Türk to called for an independent investigation by the Human Rights Council.

“It pains me to see what is happening in the country,” Türk said during a special session meeting. “The images of children killed. Of women beaten in the streets. Of people sentenced to death.”

He went on to highlight Iran’s “fortress mentality of those who wield power” and their “unnecessary and disproportionate use of force.”

Iran officials have continuously defended their actions claiming they are taking “necessary measures” after the “unfortunate” death of Amini. 

CNN also reported Iran’s criticism of countries like Germany, the UK, and France for commenting stating they don’t have  “the moral credibility to preach to others on human rights and to request a special session on Iran.”

UN historically ignores religion-based human rights violations

Since its creation in October 1945, the United Nations has been called upon to “prevent disputes from escalating into war, or to help restore peace following the outbreak of armed conflict, and to promote lasting peace in societies emerging from wars.”

For 77 years, the UN has repeatedly failed to actually stand up for human rights—especially when violations are justified by religion.

Immediately after its creation, the United Nations created a Jewish state in the fully populated Palestine. Between 1947 and 1949, at least 15,000 Palestinians were killed and roughly 750,000 of the total 1.9 million population were forced to take refuge far away from their homes. 

Currently, Israel controls 85% of the country. There has been no justice for the Palestinians.

Following the US-Vietnam War and the Cambodian civil war in 1975, the Khmer Rouge regime came into power in Cambodia. The country was quickly turned into a socialist country and enacted genocide, killing 2 million people (25% of its population). 

The UN recognized the regime and ignored all human rights violations. 

“I firmly reject any claim that religious beliefs can be invoked as a legitimate ‘justification’ for violence or discrimination against women, girls or LGBT+ people”

In 1994, the UN sent troops to Rwanda to aid in the civil war between Rwandan Armed Forces (Tutsi) and the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front (Hutu). In just three months, the Hutus murdered around 800,000 Tutsis while the troops were there.

The UN issued resolutions for the Iraq invasion that saw over a million deaths, the Syrian civil war that displaced millions of Syrians, and the South Sudan civil war with at least 380,000 casualties. All were ignored or vetoed. 

According to the UN, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

It wasn’t until 2020, when Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council pleading for it to outlaw the use of religion to justify human rights violations.

“I firmly reject any claim that religious beliefs can be invoked as a legitimate ‘justification’ for violence or discrimination against women, girls or LGBT+ people”, he said

“Women and LGBT+ people experience discrimination and violence inflicted in the name of religion by State and non-State actors that impedes their ability to fully enjoy their human rights, including their right to freedom of religion or belief.”

While the UN’s investigation into the situation may bring more worldwide attention, its history of allowing religious practices to enable violence doesn’t leave much confidence for a solution in Iran.

tatiania perry

Tatiania Perry

OnlySky news editor Tatiania Perry has been a writer for Newsweek, Illinois Public Media, and NBC Universal, as well as in the non-profit sector. She holds a Masters in Journalism from the University of...