Prof. Anand Grover, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, at an international conference in Paris on 3 July 2023 marking the 35th anniversary of the 1988 massacre in Iran

Anand Grover: Iran’s 1988 massacre is a crime against humanity

Remarks by Prof. Anand Grover, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, at the international conference in Paris on 3 July 2023 marking the 35th anniversary of the 1988 massacre in Iran and seeking accountability for this ongoing crime against humanity:

Friends and comrades.

Today we are meeting here to remember those 30,000 or so Iranian citizen executed in 1988 by the regime in Iran, the CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, to ensure that the struggle is not forgotten but becomes an impetus for continued struggle and final victory towards a Free Iran, Azad Iran.

I want to thank the organizers of this important meeting of the National Council of Resistance of Iran movement and the CALL FOR JUSTICE for inviting me to join in their efforts to get justice for those were executed.

Being a strong proponent of women’s rights, I am glad to note that the leadership of the Resistance movement is hands of a very capable woman, Ms.  Maryam Rajavi. There is a myth that Islamic groups don’t encourage women in leadership positions. I am glad that you have smashed this myth.

I am also glad to note that the resistance movement comprises different groups with different ideas with a common aim, to get rid of the repressive Mullah leadership in Iran and have free Iran, Azad Iran.

For a long time, the regime did not let the relatives of those executed know of their fate/death or whereabouts.

Despite thousands of demands by Iranians and the international community, for a long time there was no admission of the fate of those executed.

Later, in various interviews, some of those in power admitted that those people were executed because of the decree passed to execute those who remained loyal to the Mujahedeen (PMOI or MEK).

Please appreciate the conviction of their beliefs, bravery and the courage of these persons. They refused to agree with the regime knowing that their fate was death.

I don’t know I could do the same in their circumstances. A chill goes down my spine whenever I think about this. I can only salute those brave and courageous people who gave up their life for an idea.

What is the idea?

It is the idea that one can have a belief different from those who rule in a society and can voice it without any reprisal.

It is the idea that people of different thoughts, faiths, ethnicity, race, gender can live in the same society as sisters and brothers and exercise their thoughts by speech, and beliefs without any reprisals or free of reprisal.

It is the idea that those that have done wrong will be held to account.

The idea is to have a Free Iran.

That is what the PREAMBLE of the Constitution of India, the vision of our freedom struggle against the British, says: –

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: [it is the people who are in control of the country and not self-appointed people]

JUSTICE, social, economic and political; [So victims’ families must get justice];

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship; [Each one can have her own beliefs and be respected for it]

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; [Everybody is treated equally for jobs, education etc]

And to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual; [People treat each other as sisters and brother and with respect and dignity]

Of course, this is under attack in India, but we are fighting to preserve it. May I say with all humbleness that I have learnt quite a lot today from you and will use it in India to ensure that doesn’t lose its freedoms it won and established 75 years ago.

That is what the people who were executed believed in. And I am sure that is what the vast majority of people in Iran also want, like the people all over the world. I have faith in the people of Iran. In the memory of the 1988 victims let us strive for this in the long run. This is indeed the prescription for FREE IRAN.

One of the victims, Mooniteh Rajavi, a student of Newcastle University, said this:

“They want to destroy our human identity. We must fight back. The way to do this is to care more for one another.”

Though I don’t have the remit to advise but it is clear there are things that have to be done:

People who were executed and their families need JUSTICE to be delivered to them.

We must keep on demanding from the Iranian government to-

  1. provide accurate information on the fate and whereabouts of the individuals
  2. provide accurate death certificates
  3. Stop threats and harassment of families of those who were executed
  4. Investigate and prosecute those responsible. This is the most difficult to achieve in the short run. It is here that the International Community must put their weight to support efforts to get justice for the victims.

I am dismayed, but not surprised, that despite the Reports of the UNSRs, the Committee on Involuntary Disappearances, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, the  UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/43/137 December 1988 the situation was not referred to the Security Council, the UN General Assembly did not follow up on the resolution and the UN Commission on Human Rights did not take any action.

There must be a more trials like of those of the Stockholm District Court convicting Hamid Nouri. This can be done by lawyers around of the world. There must be more Kenneth Lewis in this world. Can you clone yourself, Kenneth.

The failure of these bodies to act had a devastating impact on the survivors and families as well as on the general situation of human rights in Iran and emboldened Iranian regime to continue to conceal the fate of the victims and to maintain a strategy of deflection and denial that continue to date. These need to be tackled urgently.

Let us make a plan to do that in the near future and ensure that an enquiry into the executions of 1988 is conducted by the UN in accordance with long standing demand or if necessary by an independent body with credible judicial persons.

With bravery and courage of the Iranian people all of this will be achieved.

MARTIN Luther King said INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE. So, in all this I can assure of my support for your just struggle for FREE IRAN/AZAD IRAN.

A Free Iran will happen sooner you think. With that hope let me congratulate you on your struggle for Azad Iran.