Human Rights Council – 52nd Session
Reaction by Ambassador Michèle Taylor
Following the Reading of the Joint Statement of 54 Countries
Condemning the Death Penalty in Iran against Peaceful Protestors
I’m here in Geneva at the United Nations Palais where the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council is taking place. Iranian authorities have already put four people to death since September in connection with their participation in the protests in Iran, defendants who were found guilty in sham trials that lacked any fair trial guarantees.
The Iranian Regime is using the death penalty as part of their brutal crackdown aimed at suppressing the protests and stamping out dissent. Today, the United States joined Costa Rica and 52 other countries at the UN Human Rights Council in condemning Iran’s weaponization of the death penalty as a means to deny the people of Iran something so simple, something that most of us here take for granted: the opportunity to speak and to be heard.
Many protestors, particularly young people, remain in prison in Iran, facing charges that carry the death penalty. I am horrified, we all should be, that peaceful protestors reportedly have been subjected to torture and sexual violence while in detention.
The regime should be listening to the demands of the young people of Iran, not executing them for exercising their fundamental freedoms. Today’s statement at the UN Human Rights Council underscores just how isolated Iran‘s leadership has become as they continue their brutal crackdown.
Joining today’s statement is simply the latest action by the United States to hold Iranian authorities accountable for their brutal crackdown on the people of Iran. In November, we strongly supported the Human Rights Council Special Session to address the worsening human rights crisis in Iran.
That Special Session established an important fact-finding mission on the human rights crisis whose work is ongoing and will help ensure that those involved in the brutal crackdown and the denial of the Iranian people’s human rights are identified and their actions documented. Iranian authorities will not be able to perpetrate their violent crackdown anonymously and must not be granted impunity.
We call on Iranian authorities to reverse course and cease these human rights abuses. Sadly, we see no indication that they will do so. The United States will continue to coordinate with our allies and partners to take action, including through the UN. We must hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses and also support the people of Iran as they rightfully insist upon their human rights and fundamental freedoms.