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Human rights violations in Iran discussed by Geneva panel

Experts at the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019
Experts at the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Geneva, September 21, 2019—Human rights experts from various countries took part in a conference on Friday held at the Palais des Nations of the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva, emphasizing on the need to end the three-decade-long impunity Iranian regime officials have been enjoying in relation to continuing human rights violations across the country, and especially the horrendous summer 1988 massacre. Over 30,000 political prisoners, mainly members and supporters of the Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were executed in just a few months.

Kristy Brimelow, QC at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

Kristy Brimelow, QC at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

 

“Why should there now be a tribunal on the crime against humanity committed in 1988? First, because lawyers have examined evidence and know beyond doubt that a crime was committed. If Iran disputes that, we have a process for that,” Kristy Brimelow, QC, an international human rights lawyer, said in her remarks.

“In July 2019, Mostafa Pourmohammadi responded to allegations of 1988 executions and defended them as the execution of terrorists. But evidence shows the contrary. Many of the people had been arrested for distributing leaflets, many were children.

“It is time that we write the history within the judicial setting as to what happened in 1988, and this crime against humanity must be recognized beyond political goals, but within its judicial context. Otherwise, what’s the point of the UN.”

Laurence Fellman Rielle, a member of the Swiss FederalParliament at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

Laurence Fellman Rielle, a member of the Swiss Federal Parliament at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

 

“We are witnessing progress in seeing the perpetrators of this crime being brought before a court. Since launching the campaign for justice for the 1988 massacre victims, many of the perpetrators have been exposed and the crime has been documented,” said Swiss MP Laurence Fellman Rielle.

“Amnesty International has also rallied to expose this crime. It has underlined that if the perpetrators are not held to account before a tribunal, more crimes and massacres will take place. Amnesty called it a crime against humanity. Amnesty has also gathered testimonies from hundreds of witnesses.”

Henrik Hermansson, political scientist and human rights researcher at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019.

Henrik Hermansson, political scientist and human rights researcher at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019.

 

Henrik Hermansson, a political scientist and human rights researcher, reminded the conference of a number of reports covering the 1988 massacre.

“We have the locations of 60 mass graves… The 1988 massacre shaped Iran’s political system. The massacre was carried out by many authorities. Many death commission members now hold important positions in the government,” he explained.

“Iran’s large financial institutions are controlled by the perpetrators. Iran’s current supreme leader, who was president in 1988, was directly involved. The 1988 massacre became a career-making moment for many Iranian officials.

“When officials are trained on the mass murder of dissidents, mass murder is how they will respond to protests. The continued impunity of this crime contributes to this continued crime.

“We should understand impunity is a cause of human rights violation and a violation of itself. There’s still a role for the UN and international human rights community to end impunity, even if it has political ramifications.

“I call on member states to discuss the 1988 massacre with the Special Rapporteur to make sure it’s not dropped again. Failure to investigate is also a crime.”

Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, President of the international committee In Search of Justice (ISJ) at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran

Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, President of the international committee In Search of Justice (ISJ) at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran

 

“Over the past four years, women’s rights have deteriorated even more. Women who have protested to veiling rules have been arrested and given harsh sentences. There is a jurisdiction that prevents women from taking part in normal activities in society. One case is Sahar Khodayari who died due to self-immolation. She had been arrested after she tried to enter a sports stadium to watch her favorite football team. Iran is the only country where women are banned from entering sports stadiums,” said Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, President of the international committee In Search of Justice (ISJ).

“I want to emphasize to the civil society and states, and especially to the EU Member States and the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to do what they can to change the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran. They have a responsibility to stand with people who simply exercise their right to freedom of speech and association. The Human Rights Council must press to gain access to political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.

Behzad Naziri, a member of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

Behzad Naziri, a member of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

 

“I am here not only as an NCRI member but also as a witness. I escaped Khomeini’s prison, else I would have been one of the victims of the 1988 massacre. I was sentenced to eight years in prison. After the execution of my sister, I managed to escape prison after three years. My father was sent to prison in my place,” said Behzad Naziri, a member of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

“This regime will only change its human rights behavior when it no longer exists. But we must continue our activities. It’s important that come November, the issue of the 1988 massacre be included in the UPR review of the regime’s human rights dossier. If not, the regime will continue to commit its crimes.

Second panel of experts condemning Iran’s human rights record

The society in Iran, parallel to the regime’s global isolation, is becoming increasingly restive. This includes an alarming number of escalating executions, apprehensions and torture in its prisons. A UN panel of experts weighed the atrocious human rights violations in Iran and the measures actions the international community needs to take.

Former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

Former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

 

“Yesterday, the European Parliament condemned the Iranian regime’s human rights violations. The heart and voice of Europe is expressed by human rights. Human rights must be a priority between EU institutions and the outside world. The EU has a fundamental role to promote freedom, rule of law, and protect freedoms,” said former Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi.

 “Making concessions to a religious dictatorship will only provoke it to become more aggressive. The regime has become more aggressive in its terrorism and internal repression.

Tahar Boumedra, former Director of the Human Rights Office in UNAMI and an expert on the death penalty at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

Tahar Boumedra, former Director of the Human Rights Office in UNAMI and an expert on the death penalty at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

 

“We are facing a philosophy of law based on the safeguard of the Islamic Republic founded by Khomeini. The Iranians are talking about the due process of law. Their legal system is built on violating the fundamentals of human rights,” said Tahar Boumedra, former Director of the Human Rights Office in UNAMI and an expert on the death penalty.

“The real solution is a fundamental change in Iran. And the Iranian constitution can’t be amended. It provides for violations of human rights, provides for torture. And no law can change this constitution except for the supreme leader.

“The current Special Rapporteur who dropped this issue from his report might have been under some kind of pressure to drop this from his agenda. Why has he abandoned the issue of the 1988 massacre? He must reply to the families of the victims, as well as the massacre survivors.”

Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, former UN expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, former UN expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

 

“30,000 human beings are only the tip of the iceberg. 120,000 of the MEK have been killed,” said Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, former UN expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

“Next week, at the German Parliament, we will have a hearing on impunity at the Human Rights Committee. One of the points I will make is Ashraf. I have shared my comments on this with the High Commissioner. 

“The violations are so enormous that they can be dealt with many other rapporteurs. How about a report by the rapporteur on extrajudicial executions on this issue? Other rapporteurs should be flooded by letters.

“The High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council must investigate this crime against humanity. The Special Rapporteur on truth and justice, as well as the rapporteur on torture and arbitrary detention,  must also look into this. This is a matter for the Human Rights Council and the UPR.

“It is imperative, you owe it to your loved ones, to your people, to your history, to keep sending this information to the UN and all committees where Iran must report to.”

Azadeh Alemi of the Women’s Human Rights International Association (WHRIA) at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

Azadeh Alemi of the Women’s Human Rights International Association (WHRIA) at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

 

“Iranian women have been under constant repression for 40 years under the barbaric mullahs. The segregation and sexual discrimination enshrined in the law make Iranian women’s lives a daily nightmare. They are deprived of rights & freedoms, removed from economic & political life,” said Azadeh Alemi of the Women’s Human Rights International Association (WHRIA).

“I would like to recall that this unprecedented hatred of women finds its roots in the misogynistic ideology of the theocratic power in Iran, which has based its entire repressive system on the repression of women in order to better control society.”

Sima Mirzaee, a family member of 14 individuals executed by the Iranian regime at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

Sima Mirzaee, a family member of 14 individuals executed by the Iranian regime at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

 

“I am a victim of a crime against humanity. The regime has executed 14 members of my family. Seven of them were executed in the 1988 massacre. The regime did not tell us where they were buried. I have participated in different conferences and I ask that the perpetrators of this crime be brought to justice,” said Sima Mirzaee, a family member of 14 individuals executed by the mullahs’ regime in Iran.

Massoumeh Joushaghani, a former political prisoner in Iran at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

Massoumeh Joushaghani, a former political prisoner in Iran at the UN discussing human rights conditions in Iran – Palais des Nations, UN – September 20, 2019

 

“I was a victim of the regime’s human rights violations. I want to know what the UN has done. This crime has been buried under the rug for 30 years. I am the voice of all my friends who were executed in 1988. The regime destroyed this brave generation. I want the UN to bring the perpetrators of this crime, who are serving in senior positions in the Iranian government, to justice. The suffering of the families continues,” said Massoumeh Joushaghani, a former political prisoner in Iran.

 

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