The UN Human Rights Council Thursday voted at a special session to create an independent fact-finding mission to investigate alleged human rights violations against peaceful protestors in Iran. The council requested the 35th special session in response to the nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police in September.The council adopted the resolution–put forth by Germany–by a vote of 25 nations in favor. Among the votes against the resolution was China, who called for the removal of the fact-finding mission. China claimed that this “obviously would not help solve the problem.” China’s effort was ultimately defeated, garnering the support of only five other nations.The aim of the fact-finding mission is to engage in a thorough and independent investigation to establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged human rights violations in Iran, particularly with respect to women and children. This evidence and data will then be collected, consolidated, analyzed and preserved. The council requested the full cooperation of Iran’s government and free access to the country, including places of detention. The council believes this fact-finding mission is a significant development as it will allow for the identification of any person responsible for human rights violations and consequently enable the ability to hold them accountable.According to the latest figures from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at least 15,000 people have been arrested since Amini’s death. Over 300 people have been killed in protests, including at least 40 children. In the past seven days, at least 60 to 70 persons have been killed, including five children. UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk insisted that this “unnecessary and disproportionate use of force” must end.Members of the fact-finding mission are expected to present an update at the 53rd special session of the council, which will be held between February 27 and March 31 2023.

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