In the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Flight PS752 last year and in the aftermath of the devastating attack, Iran committed numerous human rights abuses, two independent experts named by the United Nations Human Rights Council declared on Tuesday.
The Special Rapporteur on the extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the region, Javaid Rehman, have repeatedly voiced their concern about the incident of 8 January 2020.
UN expert says Iran lied in downing of Ukraine airliner https://t.co/3IW4aEMoO1 "Agnes Callamard, a special UN rapporteur on extra-judicial killings, unveiled the results of a probe into the tragedy and said the Iranian explanation of what went wrong is full of contradictions."
— Alireza Jafarzadeh (@A_Jafarzadeh) February 23, 2021
Flight PS752 was heading from Tehran to Kiev when two rockets launched by the Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran (IRGC) hit it, killing all 176 passengers on board. The attack took place in the background of high tensions following the targeted assassination by the United States of General Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian official, and the resulting retaliation by Iran against The US bases in Iraq, where he was killed.
Special Rapporteurs are not United Nations employees nor are they employed by the Organisation. They are designated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to track and provide recommendations on specific situations that take place in a country.
Ms. Callamard and Mr. Rehman were among a group of independent experts who sent a communication to the Iranian authorities last February, raising concern over the use of force in rallies that followed the attack.
In his latest report to the Human Rights Council, Mr. Rehman has addressed questions about harassment of the families of Flight PS752 victims, including death threats.
Ms. Callamard wrote to the Iranian government last December after a six-month report where she described the facts and circumstances concerning the attack. She confirmed that she has yet to receive a response.
The letter remained confidential for 60 days, in accordance with the States protocol of the Human Rights Council, and was released on Tuesday concluding that the right to life of the passengers and crew onboard the aircraft was abused by the Iranian authorities.
“In situations of high military tension, the most effective means to prevent attacks on civil aviation is to close the airspace,” Ms. Callamard said. “Had Iran, knowing full well that hostilities with the US could readily escalate, closed its airspace for civilian traffic that evening, 176 human beings would not have been killed.”
She said there are multiple gaps and inconsistencies in Iran’s justification for shooting down the aircraft. “The inconsistencies in the official explanations seem designed to create a maximum of confusion and a minimum of clarity. They seem contrived to mislead and bewilder.”
“As for the mistakes that have been admitted, they suggest at minimum a reckless disregard for standard procedures and for the principles of precaution, which should have been implemented to the fullest given the circumstances and the location of the missile unit in the proximity of a civilian airfield.”