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Report by UNHRC: Information regarding the right to life




Economic and Social ‎                                Distr.‎
Council ‎
                                                                E/CN. 4/1989/26‎
                                                               ‎26 January 1989‎
                                                               Original ENGLISH

Excerpts from the report by the
Special Representative of the United Nations Human Rights
Commission to the Commission ‘s 1989 session
‎(UN Document E/CN.4/1989/26)‎

‎2. Written information‎
‎(a) Information regarding the right to life‎
‎15. The information received by the Special Representative since the preparation of his ‎interim report to the General Assembly contained in particular alleged violations of the ‎right to life. In his interim report (paras. 47-49) the Special Representative referred to ‎information he received in September 1988 alleging that a large number of prisoners, ‎members of various opposition groups, had been executed during the months of July, ‎August and September 1988. Since that date, the Special Representative has continued ‎receiving persistent reports about a wave of executions of political prisoners. These ‎reports were made available by various sources, including non-governmental ‎organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and other ‎bodies directly concerned by the alleged wave of executions. In addition, the Special ‎Representative received hundreds of petitions and letters from private individuals around ‎the world, including members of parliament from Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, ‎and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as members of the ‎European Parliament from several countries, and trade-union and church officials, ‎expressing deep concern at the alleged wave of executions and calling for United Nations ‎intervention to bring such executions to a halt.‎
‎16. The precise number of alleged victims of the recent wave of executions has not been ‎reported. The Special Representative has received more than 1,000 names (see annex), ‎but it was alleged that there were in all probability several thousand victims. In that ‎connection, the Special Representative was informed that the Special Rapporteur on ‎summary or arbitrary executions had, during the period from July to December 1988, ‎transmitted to the Iranian Government allegations regarding the summary or arbitrary ‎execution of several hundred persons, and sent urgent appeals regarding approximately ‎‎150 persons said to be facing an imminent danger of execution.‎
‎17. Most of the alleged victims were said to be members or supporters of the People’s ‎Mojahedin Organization of Iran, but members of other opposition groups, such as the ‎Tudeh Party, the People’s Fedaiyan Organization, Rahe Kargar and the Komala ‎Organization in Iranian Kurdistan, as well as at least 11 mollahs, were also said to be ‎among the alleged victims. Many of the people said to have been executed had been ‎serving prison terms for several years, while others were former prisoners who were ‎rearrested and then executed. It would therefore seem unlikely that these persons could ‎have taken part in violent activities against the Government, such as participation in the ‎NLA incursion into the western part of the Islamic Republic of Iran in July 1988. Among ‎those said to have been executed were several women and, in some cases, several ‎members of the same family. It was alleged that many of those who had been serving ‎prison sentences had had their sentences changed to the death penalty, in contravention ‎of article 14, paragraph 7, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to ‎which the Islamic Republic of Iran is a party. Many of the executions were said to have ‎been carried out in secret while others were reported to have occurred publicly, by ‎hanging or firing-squads.‎
‎18. Statements by several high-ranking officials were published by the Iranian news ‎media to the effect that members of opposition groups should be dealt with severely, but ‎there was no official acknowledgement of the wave of executions. Nevertheless, reports ‎have been received according to which people witnessed large numbers of bodies being ‎buried in shallow graves in the area of Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery in Tehran, where ‎political prisoners are usually buried, and in other parts of the country.‎
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