5 July 2023, Special Dialogue with the Fact-Finding Misson
Delivered by Roya Boroumand
Mr President, Madame Chair,
I am delivering this statement on behalf of ARTICLE 19, the coalition Impact Iran and Front Line Defenders.
We welcome the investigation work of the Fact-Finding Mission and look forward to the precedent it will play in documenting the rights violations and international crimes committed in the Islamic Republic, paving the way to international criminal accountability.
These crimes have continued since the start of the popular uprising in September. The scores of arbitrary arrests and executions related to these protests since the Human Rights Council met have continued.
The continued harassment and arrest of human rights defenders and their families and of the families of the protesters – including the killing of a relative of Kian Pirfalek and arrest of his family – are testament to the cruelty and continued impunity of the Islamic Republic. The poisoning of schoolgirls – the demographic at the forefront of the recent uprisings – is another assault for which the regime must face consequences.
Repression has been bolstered by legislative developments. A review of laws under consideration reveal that many proposed provisions are in response to various forms of protest, including assemblies, defiance of discriminatory and degrading veiling laws and online and offline expression.
We are particularly concerned by the threats authorities have made to mobilise surveillance and facilitate recognition technology to enforce compulsory veiling. The increasing reliance of digital repression to facilitate human rights crimes and abuses by the Islamic Republic is a concern. Most notably, systems of surveillance and censorship such as SIAM, as well as the use of internet disruptions and shutdowns that coincide with regional or city-wide protests continue unabated, most alarmingly in the province of Sistan and Baluchistan.
Truth, justice, and accountability for the serious violations of human rights and international crimes committed in Iran are needed, required, and demanded. The Fact-Finding Mission has a key role to play, an immense task before it, and it needs the full support of the Human Rights Council’s members.