UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urges Iran to respect the rights of all demonstrators
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday on January 3, urged Iran to handle the protests that have taken place around the country “with great care” so as not to further inflame violence and unrest. He further urged the authorities to investigate all deaths and serious injuries that have occurred so far.
The UN High Commissioner has stated: “I am deeply disturbed by reports that more than 20 people, including an 11-year-old boy, have died and hundreds have been arrested during the recent wave of protests in Iran.”
“The Iranian authorities must respect the rights of all demonstrators and detainees, including their right to life, and guarantee their safety and security,” he added.
Calling for thorough, independent and impartial investigations of all acts of violence that have taken place, the UN rights chief further added there must be a concerted effort by the authorities “to ensure that all security forces respond in a manner that is proportionate and strictly necessary, and fully in line with international law.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights emphasized: “Iranian citizens who take to the streets to express their discontent have a right to be heard, and that the issues they raise should be resolved through dialogue, with full respect for freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly.”
“It is incumbent on the authorities that their actions do not provoke a downward spiral of violence, as occurred in 2009,” he warned. “The authorities must take all steps to ensure that this does not happen again,” he warned.
The High Commissioner urged the authorities to release from detention any protesters who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, or penalized in any way, for expressing their views and protesting in a peaceful manner. “Peaceful protests must not be criminalized,” he said. “They are a legitimate part of the democratic process.”