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UN Officials Call For Inquiry Into 1988 Iran Massacre

UN Officials Call For Inquiry Into 1988 Iran Massacre

Thursday, 6 May, 2021 - 10:00
The families of the victims of the 1988 summer executions gather in the Khawaran cemetery, which contains unidentified mass graves of political prisoners (Hrana Organization)

Dozens of former United Nations officials and human rights experts called for an international investigation into the mass killings of dissidents in Iranian prisons in 1988.

Over 150 international legal and human rights experts, including former UN High Commissioner Mary Robinson, former deputy UN Secretary-General Mark Malloch-Brown, and former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell signed an open letter urging a probe into the killings of followers of the “Mujahedin-e-Khalq” and other groups in 1988 on an order from Iran's then-supreme leader Moussavi Khomeini.

“There is a systemic impunity enjoyed by those who ordered and carried out the extrajudicial executions,” they said, adding: “Many of the officials involved continue to hold positions of power including in key judicial, prosecutorial, and government bodies.”

The letter listed the names of thousands involved in the killings, including Iran's current justice minister, Seyyed Alireza Avaei.

"We appeal to the UN Human Rights Council to end the culture of impunity that exists in Iran by establishing a Commission of Inquiry into the 1988 mass extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances."

The signatories also urged High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to support the establishment of such a commission.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the establishment of an international investigation committee "is a decision taken by member states."

OHCHR spokeswoman Marta Hurtado asserted that they received the letter and explained that part of the message is available to the public.

Hurtado pointed out that Human Rights Office and the Special Rapporteur on Iran reported the constant violations of human rights in the country.

Iranian officials recently defended the executions, saying the opposition were “terrorists”.

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