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Ex-UN Officials, human rights experts call for investigation of 1988 massacre

Ex-UN officials and human rights experts sign open letter to investigate 1988 massacre of Iranian political prisoners
Ex-UN officials and human rights experts sign open letter to investigate 1988 massacre of Iranian political prisoners

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

London, May 6, 2021—In an open letter to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, more than 150 former UN officials and human rights experts called for an end end mullahs’ regime’s impunity by establishing a Commission of Inquiry into the 1988 mass extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances.

The letter refers to a September 2020 report by seven United Nations Rapporteurs which states that the extrajudicial killings of political prisoners in 1988 “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

The letter reiterates the devastating impact that the 1988 massacre has had on the families of the victims and the Iranian society. “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. We urge High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to support the establishment of such a Commission,” the letter reads in part.

Signatories include former UN High Commissioner and Irish President Mary Robinson, 28 former UN special rapporteurs on human rights, and the chairs of previous UN Commissions of Inquiry into human rights abuses in Eritrea and North Korea.

Other signatures include the former chief prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, a former special prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and the first president of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, and 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta have also signed the letter.

Prof. Jean Ziegler, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (2000-2008), former Vice-President of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, Prof. Alfred De Zayas, former UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order (2012-2018),

Ad Melkert, former Special Representative for Iraq of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), former UN Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Tahar Boumedra, Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI), former Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office and Representative of the HCHR in Iraq – (United Kingdom) also signed the letter.

Tahar Boumedra, a former UN human rights official in Iraq and member of the London-based organization Justice for the Victims of 1988 Massacre in Iran, said, “This marks the first time that such a distinguished array of former UN officials are appealing directly to High Commissioner Bachelet to hold the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre accountable. She can remedy the regrettable failure of the relevant UN bodies to investigate this horrific atrocity and hold those responsible in the years past and put an end to the ongoing torment of the victims’ families. They have a right to the truth and to justice through a UN-led investigation. The witnesses are still alive. The evidence is at hand. Justice delayed is justice denied. The failure to act now will only embolden the regime to continue its cover-up and evade accountability.”

In the summer of 1988, based on a fatwa of then regime supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini, the Iranian regime executed more than 30,000 political prisoners because they opposed Khomeini’s tyrannical rule. Most of the executed prisoners were members and sympathizers of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and refused to take distance of their political believes and ideals for freedom and democracy in Iran.