Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
UN Human Rights Council Special Session on Iran
November 24, 2022
Thank you, Mr. President. I thank the High Commissioner, Special Rapporteur Rehman, and civil society for their valuable documentation, advocacy, and recommendations, and Germany and Iceland for requesting this urgent session.
We are all watching with horror as events unfold in Iran. And yet what we see is so very limited due to the communications blackout imposed by the authorities. The people of Iran are demanding something so simple, something that most of us here take for granted: the opportunity to speak and to be heard.
We applaud their courage, especially the women, girls, and young people who are bravely demanding respect for their human rights and accountability for abuses. They stand for the very principles on which the United Nations was founded. This historic movement was sparked by the inexcusable, unjustifiable death in custody of Mahsa Amini, and has been met with brutal killings by security forces of hundreds of Iranians.
Countless others have been subjected to sexual violence. The reported torture and other mistreatment of political prisoners, including peaceful protestors, must end.
We hear daily reports of increasing violence by the authorities. Again this past weekend in Mahabad, security forces reportedly used lethal force against protestors.
We are deeply disturbed by the detention and killing of children, including 9-year-old Kian Pirfalak, and we condemn the sham trials and death sentences for those peacefully protesting.
We must not forget Mahsa and Kian, and the countless other individual lives at risk or lost. The names on display next to me and the photos behind me represent just a few of the lives, lives full of potential, that were taken simply for standing up for basic human rights. They are the reason we are here; their deaths demand independent, impartial, and transparent investigations. Investigations that Iran has shown it is unwilling to undertake.
Iran has also detained numerous activists and media workers, including two women reporters integral to breaking the story of Mahsa’s death. It is unconscionable that those women now face charges that carry the death penalty in Iran simply for exercising their freedom of expression.
The United States condemns the violent crackdown in the strongest terms. We support all Iranians who continue to demonstrate in the face of this suppression and join their urgent call for accountability. They are an inspiration to me personally and to the world.
As members of this Council, we must hold Iranian officials and government institutions to account. We must take this stand for women, life, freedom.