On October 5, coinciding with the fifty-fourth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, an important conference was held to address the severe human rights situation in Iran under the rule of the clerical dictatorship. The conference gathered international figures and human rights advocates who pressed for action on two critical issues: the extension of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission to investigate the suppression of women-led demonstrations in 2022 and the launch of an investigation into the 1988 mass execution of political detainees in Iran.

The Grave Human Rights Situation in Iran

Antonio Stango, the President of the Italian Federation for Human Rights (FIDU) and the conference moderator, shed light on the alarming human rights situation in Iran. With his extensive experience in monitoring human rights violations globally, Mr. Stango expressed deep concern over the widespread repression within the country. He emphasized the extensive crackdown on dissent, including numerous executions and mass imprisonment of individuals participating in peaceful demonstrations. Mr. Stango referred to the events of the past year as a wave of protests akin to a revolution, underscoring the urgent need for international attention and action.

Impunity and Repression in Iran

Sonja Biserko, the President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and a former member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in North Korea, highlighted the persistent issue of impunity in Iran. She drew attention to international reports that underscored the lack of accountability for human rights abuses committed by Iran’s security forces. Mrs. Biserko specifically emphasized the need for justice regarding the 1988 mass execution of political prisoners, where thousands lost their lives in a matter of weeks. She stressed the importance of renewing the UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission to investigate the ongoing protests and called for a comprehensive investigation into the 1988 massacre. Mrs. Biserko emphasized the role of international criminal law, access to justice, and accountability in achieving peace and justice for all.

Iran’s Pattern of Denial and Repression

Tahar Boumedra, the Director of the Justice for Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) and a former Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office, highlighted Iran’s pattern of denial and repression in response to human rights concerns. He cited the recent passing of a new hijab and chastity bill in Iran, which further restricted individual freedoms, particularly for women. Mr. Boumedra mentioned the tragic case of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in police custody, sparking nationwide protests. He emphasized that Iran remains bound by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICCPR, which it signed and ratified in 1975. Mr. Boumedra called for accountability regarding the 1988 extrajudicial executions and cited the recommendations of distinguished former international judges who supported holding the perpetrators accountable. He urged the UN Human Rights Council to renew the mandates of the fact-finding mission and expand its investigation to include the 1988 massacre.

The Role of Switzerland and Urgent Global Action

Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, a Member of the National Council of Switzerland, expressed deep concern over the continued repression and lack of freedom in Iran, particularly affecting women. She highlighted the uprising following the murder of Mahsa Amini, which challenged the regime’s propaganda of resolute power. Mrs. Rielle stressed the urgency of global action to fight for the abolition of the death penalty and called on the international community to exert genuine pressure on Iran. She emphasized Switzerland’s commitment to abolishing the death penalty and urged the country to play a more robust role. Mrs. Rielle also called for a comprehensive international investigation into recent events in Iran and commended the courage of Iranian women in their pursuit of human rights and democracy.

The Urgent Need for Accountability

Kirsty Brimelow, a renowned human rights advocate and former chair of the Criminal Bar Association and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, emphasized the urgent need for accountability regarding the 1988 massacre in Iran. She decried the extrajudicial nature of the killings, labeling them as crimes against humanity. Mrs. Brimelow pointed out that many perpetrators still hold high-ranking positions in Iran, while witnesses are disappearing and mass graves are being destroyed. She said families of the victims demand accountability and closure, urging international action. She called on the UN to establish an international tribunal for a formal investigation, emphasizing the importance of collecting evidence for potential prosecutions.

The speakers emphasized the persistent issue of impunity, the pattern of denial and repression by the Iranian regime, and the urgent need for global action. The speakers stressed the importance of accountability, access to justice, and the role of the international community in addressing the human rights situation in Iran.

Source » iranfocus