UN Votes To Investigate Potential Human Rights Violations In Iran

(Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted Thursday to investigate Iran’s crackdown on protests stemming from the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody.

Twenty-five of the body’s 47 members voted in favor of the investigation, with China and Venezuela among the six countries that opposed the move. Sixteen countries abstained from the vote, which creates a “fact-finding mission” to investigate the Iranian regime’s response to the nationwide protests. At least 300 people have been killed in protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini and thousands more have been detained, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Since the protests began, security forces have reportedly responded by using lethal force against unarmed demonstrators and bystanders who posed no threat to life. In blatant disregard of international rules on the use of force,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a speech before the vote. “The security forces, notably the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Basij forces have used live ammunition, birdshot and other metal pellets, teargas and batons.”

The Iranian national soccer team reportedly refused to sing the country’s national anthem before their first World Cup match against England in Qatar Monday. A former member of the team was arrested on Thursday for criticizing the government, after which the team joined in singing the anthem before Friday’s match against Wales, CNN reported.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised the vote in a statement. (RELATED: Biden Vows To ‘Free Iran’ As Protests Across The Country Rage On)

“The UN Human Rights Council has a crucial role to play in drawing international attention to human rights crises such as the one in Iran, investigating them, and establishing accountability mechanisms to document and respond to the abuses committed. Today’s session leaves no doubt that the HRC’s membership recognizes the gravity of the situation in Iran, and the fact-finding mission established today will help ensure that those engaged in the ongoing violent suppression of Iranian people are identified and their actions documented,” he said.

Iran’s morality police, officially known as the Guidance Patrol, arrested Amini for allegedly violating laws requiring women to cover their heads in public. The Iranian government claims that she suffered a heart attack in police custody, but witnesses said they saw her being beaten by police.