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Ad Melkert, Former UN Special Representative in Iraq: Global Solidarity for Justice and Democracy in Iran

Former UNSG Special Representative Ad Melkert gave a speech in support of the Iranian people and their Organized Resistance (NCRI and PMOI) led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi for a free, democratic, non-nuclear republic of Iran.

Paris, June 30, 2024 – Addressing the Free Iran 2024 World Summit in Paris, Ad Melkert, former UN Special Representative in Iraq, commended the Iranian Resistance for their persistent advocacy for justice and democracy in Iran. He also cited the numerous UN calls to halt human rights violations and hold perpetrators accountable.

Melkert emphasized the urgent need for action, citing the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, and Javaid Rehman’s suggestion to consider the 1980s mass executions of political prisoners as genocide and crimes against humanity. The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Iran highlighted the systemic discrimination against women and girls, which has enabled widespread human rights violations.

Melkert expressed concern over international hesitations, illustrated by the releases of Hamid Noury and Asadollah Assadi, which play into the Iranian regime’s hostage-taking tactics. He condemned the attack on former European Parliament member Alejo Vidal-Quadras, reaffirming the need for international solidarity against the regime’s ruthlessness.

He reiterated his support for the Iranian people’s fight for freedom and democracy, acknowledging the resilience demonstrated by Mrs. Rajavi’s Ten-Point Plan for change. Melkert emphasized the importance of supporting those who aspire to a democratic Iran, especially the youth, and highlighted the readiness of the opposition, both inside and outside Iran, to bring about positive change.

The full text of former UN Special Representative Ad Melkert’s speech follows:

 

Madam Rajavi, dear friends from Ashraf, dear colleagues, let me, first of all, commend you for persevering in forcefully advocating the cause of justice and democracy in Iran and bringing together once more this broad global coalition in support of the numerous calls by the United Nations to stop the gross violations of human rights that continue to this day and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

The recent Secretary General’s report on the human rights situation in Iran, presented at the 56th session of the UN Human Rights Council, underscores the severe restrictions on human rights defenders, journalists, and artists, as well as institutionalized gender discrimination against women and girls.

It also draws attention to the alarming rise in executions, with at least 834 people executed in 2023, marking a 43% increase from the previous year. When will this stop? The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, has recently raised the possibility of considering the mass executions of political prisoners in the 1980s as genocide and crimes against humanity. What more is needed to act?

The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Iran concluded earlier this year that, I quote, “pervasive and deep-rooted structural and institutionalized discrimination against women and girls, permeating all areas of their public and private lives, was both a trigger and an enabler of the widespread serious human rights violations and crimes under international law committed against women and girls in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as others advocating for equality and human rights in the context of the Women, Life, Freedom movement.” End of quote.

It calls on the UN member states to, I quote, “explore avenues for international and domestic accountability outside the country.” End of quote. However, I’m concerned that we see hesitation and backtracking on international pledges to stand up for justice, as is illustrated by the recent release of Hamid Noury by the Swedish government, despite his life imprisonment sentence for involvement in the 1988 mass executions, and the earlier release of Asadollah Assadi by the Belgian government.

These facts play into the hands of the Iranian regime’s hostage-taking tactics. The horrific attack on former member of the European Parliament and staunch supporter of the Iranian people, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, has been yet another testimony of a ruthlessness that cannot be tolerated by the international community.

I stand here today in solidarity with all those who suffered and are suffering the loss and the pain inflicted by a regime that crushes the future of its population. Forty-five years of broken promises, oppression, and terror have not broken your resolve, as I have witnessed in Ashraf and Liberty, and as we are witnessing today with the Ten-Point Plan for change.

This gathering today is therefore highly necessary to reiterate the need to support all those who are vying for a different Iran, enabling especially the many millions of young people to express their voice in freedom and to meet their aspirations in a country that will be democratic, open to the world, and upholding international law. And this gathering underscores that the opposition, inside and outside Iran, stands ready with alternatives to bring back Iran as a trusted partner in promoting peace and prosperity in the country and in the wider region. I therefore commend you and your movement to persevere in leading the campaign for change, change that is long overdue, change that is at hand.

Thank you.