Geneva: Conference on Iran, 1988 massacre

Geneva: Conference on Iran, 1988 massacre

Published by on March 29, 2017

By the invitation of five non-government organizations ranked as UN advisors, a conference titled “Impunity and International Justice – 1988 Massacre of Political Prisoners” was held during the 33rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Many dignitaries, jurists, and human rights personalities took part in this meeting.

The speakers condemned the wave of current executions in Iran and called for an international probe into the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners and the persecution of Iranian regime officials for crimes against humanity.

Dr Taher Boumedra, former chief of the UN Human Rights Office in Iraq, emphasized that the UN was aware of the massacre in 1988. Professor Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran at the time, received information from the victims’ families daily as the events unfolded. There is also a list of mass graves and the locations that have been identified, which was described as a major breakthrough.

Dr Boumedra who is working with a group of lawyers to document the events related to the 1988 massacre told the conference that the UN and all its apparatus and mechanisms have placed the 1988 massacre on their agenda. He told the conference that the results of the past six months of the work of his committee will be presented to the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran with the goal of establishing an investigative commission on this issue.

Dr Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former vice president of the European Parliament, praised the report and added that the 1988 massacre of political prisoners is considered the biggest massacre of political prisoners since the end of World War II.

This massacre was carried out under orders issued by Iranian regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, but all the regime’s factions were involved, Dr Quadras said.

“What we need now is a strong condemnation and firm resolutions, alongside continuous monitoring by the UN, human rights organizations and NGOs on the situation of human rights in Iran. For example, they must force Iran to allow the unconditional inspection of political prisoners, expanding relations with Iran must be conditioned on improvements in human rights and a halt in executions. Those involved in the 1988 massacre must face justice,” he added.

Professor Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, a UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, welcomed the new report issued by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, especially its focus on the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners.

Ms Zohre Bizhan Yar, a family member of a 1988 massacre victim, delivered a speech describing how her sister, Zahra, was arrested and executed during the carnage. She also highlighted the suffering of her family due to their loss and the inhumane pressures imposed by the mullahs on them.

ILA is actively pursuing the matter as we believe that impunity of officials involved is this atrocity is a major reason that these crimes are continuing today in Iran.

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Abolish death penalty

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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