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The UN Fact Finding Mission on Iran must involve minority victims of civil society repression

5 July 2023

This statement was delivered on 5 July 2023 by Carl Söderbergh during the Interactive Dialogue with the Fact-Finding Mission on Iran at the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Madame Chair,

As the welcome investigation of the Fact-Finding Mission on Iran progresses, Minority Rights Group (MRG) would like to contextualise the violations relating to the September 2022 protests against the historical and ongoing repression of minorities in Iran.

Patterns of civil society repression both during and preceding this protest movement demonstrate that the Islamic Republic is more likely to use excessive violence to stifle minority expression, activism or dissent in predominantly minority-populated provinces. Since 2022, minorities, particularly Kurds and Baluchis, have been disproportionately targeted in arrests, killings, executions and gender-based violence, and minority areas remain the most heavily policed regions. How does the Fact Finding Mission on Iran plan to involve victims from these hard to reach and securitized communities?

MRG welcomes the FFMI’s terms of reference, stating that the Mission will adopt in its work ‘both a victim-centred and an intersectional approach’. This approach must lay the groundwork for accountability, while paving the way to justice. This includes assessing who the victims are, why they have been targeted, and the history or patterns of abuse against them. Not only will this help establish root causes of violations, but it will also reveal the potentially systemic nature of crimes committed against the most vulnerable and affected communities.

I thank you.

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