BEIRUT: The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Thursday to discuss human rights violations in Iran.
Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday that council members should vote to establish an independent fact-finding mission in order to investigate the deadly crackdown on anti-regime protests.
Human rights organizations are looking into the deaths of 434 people in the past nine weeks, including 60 children. Human Rights Watch reported dozens of instances where security forces used excessive lethal force against peaceful protesters in several cities.
According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, officials have also intensified crackdowns on protests in several Kurdish cities, killing at least 39 people.
Footage circulating online shows special forces and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps units using weapons such as heavy machine guns and assault rifles against protesters, HRW said.
“Iranian authorities seem determined to unleash brutal force to crush protests and have ignored calls to investigate the mountains of evidence of serious rights violations,” HRW senior Iran researcher Tara Sepehri Far said.
Thousands of people have been arrested since the protests began in September in the wake of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. According to HRW, detainees are kept in overcrowded conditions, and subjected to torture and sexual harassment.
On Oct. 24, judiciary spokesperson Masoud Setayeshi told media that authorities have begun prosecuting protesters. In the absence of international human rights standards, courts routinely use coerced confessions, and defendants are denied access to the lawyer of their choice.
At least six people connected with the protests have reportedly been sentenced to death on charges of “waging war against God” or “corruption on earth,” according to the UN Human Rights Office
“The UN Human Rights Council should shine a spotlight on the deepening repression, and create an independent mechanism to investigate Iranian government abuses and hold those responsible accountable, ” Far said.