According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Chief Volker Turk, Iran is in a full-fledged human rights crisis as authorities clamp down on anti-regime dissidents.
Turk called for independent, impartial, and transparent investigative processes into violations of human rights in Iran during a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday.
The Islamic Republic has been a victim of a wave of anti-government protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman detained in September by the morality police for not wearing her hijab properly.
Reports of forced detention and physical abuse being used to target the country's Kurdish minority group have been used by authorities since unleashing a deadly crackdown on demonstrators. In a recent CNN investigation, covert testimony showed sexual violence against protesters, including boys, in Iran's detention centers since the start of the unrest.
Security forces have reportedly responded to protests by using lethal force against unarmed demonstrators and bystanders who posed no threat, Turk told the 47-member states council in Geneva.
More than 14,000 people, including children, have been arrested in connection with the protests, according to Turk. He said that 21 of them currently face the death penalty and six have already received death sentences.
The unprecedented national uprising has taken hold of more than 150 cities and 140 universities in all 31 provinces of Iran, Turk said.
He said there were reports that injured protesters fear going to the hospital for fear of being arrested by security forces.
I am alarmed by reports that hundreds of university students have been summoned for questioning, threatened or suspended in part from entering university campuses, and even children suspected of having participated in protests are being arrested at school.
I urge those who hold power in Iran to respect the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly.
No society can be calcified or fossilized as it may stand at a single point in time. It is futile to attempt to do so against the will of its people. Iran has condemned the appalling and disgraceful UN Human Rights Council meeting, just as Iran s foreign ministry announced a national committee to investigate deaths linked to the protest movement.
The deputy of the vice president for women and family affairs in Iran, Khadijeh Karimi, who represented Iran at Thursday's session, condemned the politically motivated decision of Germany to call for the session, describing it as an orchestrated ploy for ulterior motives. Countries such as Germany, the UK and France don't have the moral credibility to preach others on human rights and request a special session on Iran, Karimi said.
She defended the conduct of Iranian security forces and said that the government took necessary measures after Amini died while in the custody of the morality police.
The violent response of Iran's security forces toward protesters has shaken diplomatic ties between Tehran and Western leaders.
The White House imposed its latest round of sanctions on three officials in Iran's Kurdish region, after US Secretary Antony Blinken said he was concerned that Iranian authorities are escalating violence against protesters. During an interview with Indian television broadcaster NDTV on Thursday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said foreign powers were intervening in Iranian internal affairs and creating fallacious narratives.