EU Should Lead Calls for UN Commission of Inquiry Into Iran Protest Deaths

Foreign Policy Chief Urges Iran to Hold Perpetrators of Protest Deaths Accountable, Provide Detainees Due Process

December 10, 2019 – The EU should lead calls for the UN to investigate Iranian state forces’ use of lethal means to repress the country’s mid-November 2019 protests which resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“As an important potential trade and investment partner with substantial leverage over Iran, the EU should take the lead in calling for the UN Human Rights Council to establish a commission of inquiry into the latest massacre,” said CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.

“The high scale of state violence deployed to crush this round of protests requires the EU and the broader international community to turn words into action, take steps that would lead to the perpetrators of the violence being held accountable, and send a message to the Iranian government that the world is watching,” Ghaemi added.

According to reporting by Amnesty International, at least 208 people died in Iran while protests were ongoing between November 15-December 2. The UN reported that more than 7,000 were arrested, marking one of the bloodiest periods of state repression that the Islamic Republic has seen in decades.

In a declaration published on December 8, 2019, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell Fontelles said Iranian authorities should investigate and prosecute those responsible for the deaths and provide all detainees due process.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union and its 28 member states, Borrell, who is also the Vice-President of the European Commission, also condemned the Iranian government’s “disproportionate use of force against non-violent protesters” and prolonged blockage of internet access. Following is Fontelles’ complete statement.

Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell Fontelles on behalf of the EU on the recent protests in Iran

Over the past weeks, many people all across Iran have exercised their fundamental right to assemble and expressed their economic grievances. A growing body of evidence indicates that despite repeated calls for restraint, the Iranian security forces’ disproportionate response to recent demonstrations has led to high numbers of deaths and injuries. For the European Union and its Member States, the widespread and disproportionate use of force against nonviolent protestors is unacceptable.

We urge the Iranian authorities to ensure transparent and credible investigations to clarify the number of deaths and arrested, and to provide due process to all detainees. We expect all perpetrators of violence to be held accountable, and in line with statements by senior Iranian officials, all non-violent protestors currently held under arrest should be immediately freed.

Iran’s decision to shut down internet access to global networks for over a week prevented communication and the free flow of information for Iranian citizens. This is a clear violation of the freedom of speech. Fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and assembly must always be respected. The Iranian authorities must live up to their international obligations, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The European Union addresses all issues of concern in its bilateral exchanges with Iran, including human rights, and will continue doing so.

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