UN Human Rights Council Urged to Investigate Iran's 1988 Massacre
Representatives of international non-governmental organizations are speaking out against human rights abuses by Iran's regime and calling for a United Nations investigation into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Iran's 1988 massacre, a crime against humanity in which some 30,000 political prisoners mostly affiliated to the main opposition People's Mojahedin (PMOI, Mujahedeen-e Khalq or MEK) were executed, was brought up at an 'interactive dialogue' at the council on September 11, 2019.
NGO representatives addressed Bernard Duhaime, Chair of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and Fabian Salvioli, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of non-recurrence.
Milica Javdan of the Women's Human Rights International Association told the Human Rights Council on September 11, 2019:
“The perpetrators of Iran's #1988Massacre of political prisoners now hold top Judiciary posts. Impunity breeds reoccurrence! @UNHumanRights must investigate this crime against humanity" - NGO rep at #HRC42@USUN @CanadaGeneva @UKMissionGeneva @StateDRL @GermanyUNGeneva @franceonu pic.twitter.com/zxYuqHxkcs— JVMI (@jvmifoundation) September 12, 2019
"Ms. Vice President,
In the summer of 1988, 30,000 political prisoners were massacred by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The mass atrocity was based on a fatwa by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. His decree called for the execution of all political prisoners affiliated to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, who remained steadfast in their resistance to the Iranian regime. The victims were buried secretly in mass graves. For 31 long years, the Iranian government has tried to conceal the truth about the mass executions from the International Community.
Mr. Special rapporteur Salvioli, till this day the grieving families of the victims have not received any information about the fate of their loved ones. There is no paper trail on the prisoners’ whereabouts, no trial documents and no graves to visit. The victim’s families look to you for answers.
In August 2017, your colleague the late Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Asma Jahangir, informed the General Assembly about the 1988 massacre and requested an investigation to discover the truth about the bloody summer of 1988.
Mr. Salvioli, what measures has your office taken in order to investigate this matter and to seek answers from the Iranian government about the true fate of the victims of the 1988 massacre? Many of the perpetrators of this heinous crime still hold senior positions in the Iranian judiciary and government. Such as Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi and Justice Minister Alireza Avaei. On 25th of July 2019, in an official interview, Mostafa PourMohammadi defended the 1988 massacre and said newly caught Mojahedin activists would face capital punishment. Impunity breeds reoccurrence!
We appeal to you Mr. Salvioli, to investigate the 1988 massacre as part of your mandate.
Background on Iran's 1988 Massacre:
- More than 30,000 political prisoners were massacred in Iran in the summer of 1988.
- The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by Khomeini.
- The vast majority of the victims were activists of the opposition People's Mojahedin (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK).
- Death Commissions approved all the death sentences.
- Alireza Avaei, a member of the Death Commissions, is today Hassan Rouhani’s Justice Minister.
- The perpetrators of the 1988 massacre have never been brought to justice.
- On August 9, 2016, an audiotape was published for the first time of Khomeini’s former heir acknowledging that that massacre took place and had been ordered at the highest levels.
- It's time for the UN to investigate Iran's 1988 massacre.