The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Federico Villegas (Argentina), has announced the appointment of Ms. Sara Hossain of Bangladesh, Ms. Shaheen Sardar Ali of Pakistan and Ms. Viviana Krsticevic of Argentina to serve as the three independent members of the recently established Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ms. Hossain will serve as Chair of the Mission.
With resolution S-35/1 of 24 November 2022, adopted at a special session, the Human Rights Council decided to establish an independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to “investigate alleged human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran related to the protests that began on 16 September 2022, especially with respect to women and children”.
The three-person Mission was further requested to “establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violations and collect, consolidate and analyse evidence of such violations and preserve evidence, including in view of cooperation in any legal proceedings”.
The President of the Human Rights Council sought recommendations from various stakeholders and expressions of interest to find highly qualified and impartial candidates to fill these positions.
In carrying out its tasks, the Mission is mandated to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, relevant United Nations entities, human rights organizations and civil society.
The Mission members, who will serve in their personal capacities, were requested to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council during an interactive dialogue at its fifty-third session in June 2023, and to present to the Council a comprehensive report on its findings during an interactive dialogue at its fifty-fifth session, to be held in March 2024.
Biographies of the members of the Fact-Finding Mission
Ms. Sara Hossain (Bangladesh) is a barrister in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh practising in constitutional, public interest and family law. She is a partner in the law firm of Dr. Kamal Hossain and Associates and serves pro bono as the Honorary Executive Direct of the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust. In 2016, she was appointed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as one of the two experts on accountability to support the work of the Special Rapporteur on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Ms. Hossein serves on the Advisory Committee of the Women’s International Coalition of Gender Justice and has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Trust Fund for Victims of Torture since 2017. In 2018-2019, Ms. Hossain also served on the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. She was educated at Wadham College, Oxford University, United Kingdom, and called to the Bar from Middle Temple in 1989.
Ms. Shaheen Sardar Ali (Pakistan) is a law professor at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, focussing on Islamic law, human rights, and women and child rights. In Pakistan, Ms. Ali served as the First Chairperson/Minister of State, National Commission on the Status of Women (2000-2001) and the first female cabinet Minister for Health, Population Welfare and Women’s Development in the Government of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. She was a member and Vice-Chair of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (2008-2014) and has consulted with a wide range of national and international organizations. Ms. Ali has a Ph.D. in International Law, from the University of Hull, United Kingdom (1998), and is a member of the editorial boards of the Arab Law Quarterly and the Journal of Islamic State practices in International Law. She is fluent in English, Urdu, Pashto, and Punjabi, can read and write Arabic and has a working knowledge of Persian (Farsi).
Viviana Krsticevic (Argentina) has an LL.B. from the University of Buenos Aires, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Stanford University, and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School.
She has litigated extensively on behalf of victims of human rights violations in Latin America. She has appeared before the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, arguing pioneering cases on the legal framework for accountability, gender-based violence, civic space, victims’ rights, indigenous peoples, reparations, and social and economic rights. She has helped shape international human rights standards in key areas through her litigation, advocacy, and writing. Ms. Krsticevic has intervened as amicus curiae before numerous national courts in the Americas, as well as regional human rights tribunals, including the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the European Court on Human Rights.
Ms. Krsticevic regularly teaches at the American University Washington College of Law, through its Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and at St. Thomas University through the Master of Laws in Intercultural Human Rights. She has also taught, lectured, and participated in conferences at universities and think tanks throughout the Americas, and Europe. She has participated in several conferences and has done research at the Max Planck Institute on Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. Ms. Krsticevic has published extensively on human rights and international law.
She is currently the Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), a civil society organization that works throughout the Americas to promote human rights using international law and the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights. Ms. Krsticevic is also a member of the drafting committee of the international protocol on the investigation of threats against human rights defenders launched in 2021, known as the La Esperanza Protocol. She is also a founder and member of the Gqual Campaign, a global initiative to promote gender parity in international representation.