For the victims of the 1988 execution of 30,000 political prisoners, the lack of accountability for the mullahs’ regime has been a haunting reminder of the immunity that these Iranian leaders believe they have in their quest to remain in power.
However, members of the international community are speaking out and demanding justice for these victims. Part of their demands include an investigation by an international body into the actions of the regime. A conference on this topic was held in Paris on November 28. Speakers talked about the impact of this crime against humanity, particularly on the Iranian people, who are the primary victims of the regime. One of the key speakers was Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The largest member of the NCRI is the PMOI/MEK, whose members were many of the individuals executed in 1988 and throughout the years since as Iranian leaders try to stamp out any opposition to their fundamentalist dictatorship.
“It is very significant that today’s conference has focused on justice and truth about the victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran, because the United Nations Third Committee has once again censured the mullahs’ religious dictatorship for its violations of human rights. The UN resolution calls for action to end the impunity of perpetrators of these crimes,” said Rajavi in her opening remarks.
She also noted that the UN Secretary General and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran have both received complaints from the families of victims of the massacre. It must be noted that to make those complaints is a great risk to these families, many who still live within the borders of Iran and under the control of the regime. For years, the regime has denied the massacre and is now trying to downplay it as a necessary means to deal with terrorism. These victims were executed and then thrown into unmarked mass graves, yet the regime dares to call them criminals.
“The families of the victims have a right to remedy, reparation, and the right to know about the truth of these events and the fate of the victims without risking reprisal,” said Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur in her report on the state of human rights in Iran.
Several speakers at the conference called for an international committee formed to investigate the massacre and to bring to justice those who perpetrated this crime against humanity. However, other speakers also recognized that the only way to address human rights in Iran is to deal with the regime from a place of strength.
“The international community needs to move ahead, making all relations and trade with the regime contingent on an end to torture and executions in Iran. The UN Security Council must undertake effective measures to have Iran’s criminal rulers face justice. Ending impunity for the regime’s leaders will lead to the victory of human rights. At the same time, it will bring closer the end of this regime, and the end of all suffering of the people of Iran and the peoples of the region, paving the way for a free and democratic Iran,” said Rajavi.
Other speakers at the event included former Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner; former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, Rama Yade; former Prime Minister of Algeria, Sid Ahmed Ghozali; Ingrid Betancourt; and other human rights activists and activists for the Middle East, especially Syria.
The human rights situation in Iran is serious and this regime holds the sad world record of executions by number of inhabitants. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, recently released a report denouncing the repression of activists and the families of the victims of past massacres who continue to search for the truth about what happened to their loved ones.
Iran’s behavior throughout the region has also continued to be a source of concern for the international community. Speakers at the conference talked about the impact of Iran’s interference in countries throughout the region and how it has impacted the stability of individual nations, but also the stability of the region as a whole.
The conference included an exhibition to remember the victims of the 1988 massacre. The UN, in its 2017 report on the affairs of the world, demanded an investigation into the massacre. This request is a huge step forward by the international community to call the regime to account. This conference is just a reminder that the Iranian people deserve freedom and world events are shaping up to weaken the power of the Iranian mullahs even further.