Photo of new graves over mass grave in Khavaran, Iran

JVMI urges UN intervention to preserve evidence of 1988 massacre at khavaran mass grave in iran

JVMI has received new credible information that the authorities in Iran are building over the Khavaran mass grave, south of Tehran, where thousands of victims of the 1988 extrajudicial executions are believed to be buried.

Last week, the Bahá’í International Community announced that the Iranian authorities had banned the Baha’is of Tehran from burying their loved ones in a space previously allocated to them in Khavaran cemetery. Instead, they were being told to use the site of the Khavaran mass grave which the authorities claim to have “recently emptied”.

The Baha’i community have protested the new order by agents from the Security Office of the Behesht-e Zahra Organization, which manages Khavaran.

Photo of new graves over mass grave in Khavaran, Iran.
Photo of new graves over mass grave in Khavaran, Iran.

Diane Ala’i, Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva stated: “The Baha’is respect the resting places of all and, given that over many decades the Baha’i community has faced the desecration of its own cemeteries, they do not want anyone to experience the same pain by burying their dead where others recently lay.”

Images recently posted on social media show several new graves being dug over the mass graves in Khavaran.

At least two people have been buried in these graves in this area in recent days, according to information provided by local sources.

The authorities in Iran previously destroyed the graves of victims of the 1988 massacre in other cities, including Ahvaz, Mashhad, and Tabriz. In 2017, the victims’ graves in Behesht-e Reza Cemetery in Mashhad and Vadi-e Rahmat in Tabriz were destroyed. In late July 2018, the authorities demolished and cemented the graves of the victims of the 1988 massacre in Ahvaz under the pretext of building a boulevard.

Destroying the mass graves related to the 1988 massacre is causing enormous psychological torment to the families of the victims. It is an attempt by the authorities to destroy the evidence of their ongoing crime against humanity. The families expect the UN to take immediate action to ensure the authorities halt this ongoing torture and destruction. The evidence at Khavaran and at all other mass graves must be preserved to allow an international investigation to hold the perpetrators of this ongoing crime accountable.

JVMI appeals to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to publicly call on the Iranian authorities to immediately halt this crime.

Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI)
26 April 2021