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Following the Fate of the PMOI and Victims of Iran’s Regime

Saturday, March 25, 2017 11:42
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On March 14, a side meeting entitled “Massacre of Political Prisoners in Iran from 1988 to 2017” was held at the UN as part of the 34th session regarding Human Rights. Several speakers updated the attendees on the status of the progress of the Justice for Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI). But others spoke about the impact of the massacre on the Iranian people.

Alfred de Zayas, the UN Independent Expert on Promotion of Democratic and Equable International Order, spoke at this event. He welcomed the report from the Special Rapporteur, especially the information regarding the 1988 massacre.

One of his first points is that these reports actually talked to the victims of these events. As diplomats, it can be easy to miss this critical step, which is key to understanding the events in Iran. “We need to see and talk to the real victims and not just talk to the diplomats,” said de Zayas. He also spoke of the need to condemn and identify these actions as crimes against humanity and the detentions as arbitrary detentions.

He also praised the Albanian government for opening its arms to the members of Camp Liberty. He also noted that international law requires accountability. “We have been faced for far too long with a culture of silence,” said de Zayas. “Who remembers this massacre of 1988? It was just filed away and forgotten…it is good that it is coming back to the fore.”

He also urged a committee to investigate this massacre, saying the international committee owes it to the victims. De Zayas noted that the international community needs to clean it up and can’t just turn the page and look to the future. He also supported sanctions to make progress.

“I encourage all here present…to write to us, the rapporteurs. It impacts many of our mandates…” said de Zayas, when talking about the human rights violations within Iran. He also encouraged writing to the various members of the Human Rights Council and the Secretary General of the United Nations for a Commission of Inquiry regarding the massacre. Doing so, he believes will make progress toward addressing this issue at the international level.

For de Zayas, violence is not the answer to regime change, but consistent pressure on the Iranian regime is key to making significant change in Iran for its people. 

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