India on Thursday abstained from voting on a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution to set up a fact-finding mission into alleged abuses committed against anti-hijab protesters in Iran.
On September 16, violent protests had erupted in the Islamic Republic triggered by the death of a 22-year-old woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police for not wearing hijab.
Mahsa Amini, the Kurdish woman who died, was detained on September 13 in the Iranian capital of Tehran by the police unit that enforces the country’s obligatory dress codes, including the compulsory wearing of the headscarf in public.
Officials say she died of heart attack on September 16 while in custody but critics believe she was physically assaulted on accusations of violating the hijab mandate.
Since September several civilians have been reportedly killed and tortured, especially women who defied Iran’s strictly-enforced Islamic dress code to register their protest.
At Thursday’s UN session, Germany and Iceland brought the resolution that was adopted after 25 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Japan, backed it, reported the Associated Press.
Six countries – China, Pakistan, Cuba, Eritrea, Venezuela and Armenia – opposed the move, while 16 nations abstained from voting.
“The people of Iran, from all walks of life across ethnicities, across ages, are demanding change,” the UN human rights chief Volker Turk said. “These protests are rooted in long standing denials of freedoms, in legal and structural inequalities, in lack of access to information and Internet shutdowns.”
The fact-finding mission will investigate human rights violations “especially with respect to women and children” linked to the protests that erupted on September 16. The resolution also demands that Tehran cooperate with the special rapporteur by granting access to areas inside Iranian territory, including places of detention.
“On many occasions, we have called upon Iran to respect these rights to stop the violent crackdown on protesters, the bloodshed, the arbitrary killing, the mass arrests, the death penalties,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said, reported AP. “The only answer we received was more violence, more death.”
Iran’s Deputy Vice President for Women and Family Affairs said that the resolution was politically motivated move by Germany.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets that the Human Rights Council is abused once again by some arrogant states to antagonise a sovereign UN member state that is fully committed to its obligation to promote and protect the human rights,” he added.