UN Experts Call on Iran to Account for 1988 Massacre of Dissidents

The United Nations made public the communication sent by seven UN Special Rapporteurs on September 3, 2020, to the Iranian authorities demanding them to clarify all the cases brought to their attention with regard to the massacre of political prisoners in 1988.

The communication by UN official experts calling for an “independent and thorough investigation” into all cases is a major step forward in the movement calling for justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran.


They underlined that “an enforced disappearance continues until the fate and whereabouts of the individual concerned are established irrespective of the time passed, and that the family members have a right to truth which means the right to know about the progress and results of an investigation, the fate or the whereabouts of the disappeared persons, and the circumstances of the disappearances, and the identity of the perpetrators. We stress that this obligation is applicable to any individual who has been allegedly forcibly disappeared or unlawfully killed, regardless of whether they were civilians or defined as ‘terrorists’ or threats to national security under national law.”


Amnesty International hailed the letter sent by UN experts to the Iranian regime pressing for accountability over massacres of dissidents in 1988. Amnesty International and other rights groups have long pushed for accountability over what they describe as the extrajudicial executions of thousands of mainly young people across Iran in 1988. Those killed were mainly supporters of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran who were executed without proper trials. Amnesty International called the letter “a momentous breakthrough” that marks a turning point for the victims’ families and survivors. “Top UN human rights experts have now sent an unequivocal, and long overdue, message: the ongoing crimes of mass enforced disappearances resulting from the secret extrajudicial executions of 1988 can no longer go unaddressed and unpunished,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa. The letter, first sent to the Iranian government in September, says the UN experts “are seriously concerned by the alleged continued refusal to disclose the fate and whereabouts” of the people who were killed. They say they are alarmed by the authorities’ refusal to provide families with death certificates, harassment of the families, and other matters such as the destruction of mass graves and statements from the government denying the cases. The experts call for independent investigations into all cases, the return of human remains to their families, and the prosecution of the perpetrators among other things.


Source: Iran Human Rights Monitor


The full letter can be found here: https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=25503