Instead of answering the questions raised by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, Ms. Agnes Callamard, over the Ukrainian plane’s downing in January 2020, the Iranian regime questioned Ms. Callamard’s mandate. This reaction shows the mullahs will never answer for their crimes.
“The Iranian government had 2 months to engage with my report. They failed to do so and are now attacking NOT the substance of my work but my Mandate, proving that they know nothing of its history, which includes the state responsibility to protect against unlawful deaths,” Ms. Callamard wrote on Twitter.
The #Iran government had 2 months to engage with my report. They failed to do so and are now attacking NOT the substance of my work but my Mandate, proving that they know nothing of its history which includes the state responsibility to protect against unlawful deaths. https://t.co/lxJFD3MIv0
— Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) February 25, 2021
The regime’s Revolutionary Guards shot down flight PS752, killing all 176 passengers and crew members aboard. The regime tried to cover up this incident and denied it for three days. After a year, no one has answered inquiries by victims’ family members. The regime’s cover-up sparked protests across Iran in January 2020. The security forces arrested dozens of protesters, and according to Amnesty International, detained protesters were subjected to vicious tortures.
The regime has never answered international “concerns” about the systematic human rights violations in Iran.
Seven UN human rights experts, including Agnes Callamard, wrote a letter to the regime in September 2020, demanding answers over the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, underlining if the regime fails to answer, they “call on the international community to take action to investigate the cases including through the establishment of an international investigation.”
The regime refused to answer and uphold its obligations under international human rights law, and the letter became public in December.
UN experts said that the 1988 massacre “may amount to crimes against humanity.”
In 1988, the Iranian regime summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out based on a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini.
The Iranian Resistance has made numerous efforts to mobilize the international community and pressure the regime for this heinous massacre.
Yet, the international community has failed to hold the regime accountable for this crime against humanity. This was also highlighted in the UN experts’ letter. They underlined that the international community’s failure to act “had a devastating impact on the survivors and families as well as on the general situation of human rights in Iran and emboldened Iran to continue to conceal the fate of the victims and to maintain a strategy of deflection and denial that continue to date.”
The ongoing human rights violations in Iran, such as the regime’s refusal to deliver justice to the family members of the Ukrainian flight’s victims, are part of the devastating impact of the international community’s failure in holding Tehran accountable.
The regime has confirmed its intention to continue systematic human rights violations by increasing the rate of executions and appointing Ebrahim Raisi, one of the main perpetrators of the 1988 massacre, as the Judiciary head.
The major Iran protests in 2018, 2019, and 2020, daily protests by all walks of life, and the recent uprising in Sistan and Baluchistan province show the regime faces a restive society. To quell this restive society, the regime has increased its oppressive measures.
The recent uprising in Sistan and Baluchistan shows that the regime’s use of oppression to intimidate the public has failed. But the international community should side with the Iranian people and prevent the regime from further shedding blood. In a nutshell, the international community has so far failed to hold the regime accountable.
This will certainly embolden the regime to continue its human rights violations and, as the UN experts highlighted, enjoy a “systematic impunity.”
Sadly, Western powers, mainly Europe, are more focused on having economic relations with the regime and reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal than addressing its human rights violations.
The European Union in December 2020 adopted its new global sanctions regime targeting human rights violators, and the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell spoke of the EU have human rights in its “DNA.”
But apparently, they have made an exception when it comes to Iran.
The Iranian people have clearly expressed their desire for regime change and an immediate end to human rights violations. EU leaders should use their new global sanctions regime and target the regime’s leaders for their role in human rights violations. They also should make their relations with Iran contingent on an absolute halt to human rights violations in Iran. Holding the regime to account for its human rights violations will certainly help the international community’s quest to prevent the regime from having a nuclear bomb.