(FiveNation.com)- On Tuesday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights described the current situation in Iran as “critical” and said the government’s response to the ongoing protests has resulted in over 300 deaths in the past two months.
During a press briefing in Geneva, the spokesman for the UN’s human rights chief Volker Türk said the “hardening of the response” by Iran’s security forces along with the increasing number of deaths among protesters “underline the critical situation in the country.”
Iran has been gripped by nationwide protests since the September 16 in-custody death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini who had been arrested by the morality police for wearing “inappropriate” clothing.
Since the demonstrations began, Tehran has accused the US and Israel of being behind the protests which have grown into a popular revolt against the theocratic regime.
As a sign of support for the ongoing protests, on Monday, Iran’s World Cup team refused to sing their national anthem before their opening match.
According to the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), over 300 people have been killed since the protests began including more than 40 children. The deaths have occurred throughout the country, with 25 of the 31 provinces reporting protesters killed.
During his briefing in Geneva, OHCHR spokesman Jeremy Laurence also expressed concern about the situation in the mainly Kurdish cities in Iran where, according to reports, over 40 people have been killed by security forces in the previous week.
Iranian state media last month claimed that around 46 members of the security forces, including police officers, had been killed in the protest. Tehran has not provided any estimate on the number of protesters killed.
On Thursday, Volker Türk, the UN’s human rights chief, opened an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva by urging Iran to immediately halt its violent crackdown on the protesters.
The emergency session, which was requested by Germany and Iceland and backed by over 50 countries, was called to discuss the “deteriorating human rights situation” in Iran and decide if an international investigation is warranted.