JVMI Warns of New Measures to Destroy Evidence of Iran’s 1988 Massacre at Khavaran Mass Grave

Families of the victims of the 1988 massacre in Iran have informed JVMI of new measures by the Iranian authorities at the site of a mass grave in Khavaran cemetery, south of Tehran, aimed at destroying evidence of the massacre.

As part of the attempt to destroy the mass grave, the authorities have erected a wall all around the site, making it impossible for families to access the area.

The authorities have furthermore installed new surveillance cameras around Khavaran cemetery, allowing them to control access to the site and identify visitors.

New photos and video footage of the cordoned site have been published on social media since last week.

Denial of public access to the Khavaran mass grave would allow the Iranian authorities to destroy the site in total secrecy. Khavaran is believed to contain the remains of thousands of victims of the 1988 extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances.

In 2021, JVMI received credible information that the authorities in Iran had begun to build over the Khavaran mass grave.

Iranian authorities have 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 Cemetery 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.

The destruction of mass graves related to the 1988 massacre has caused enormous psychological torment to the families of the victims. It constitutes an attempt by Iran’s authorities to destroy the evidence of their ongoing crime against humanity.

The families of the victims of the 1988 massacre expect the United Nations to take immediate action to ensure the authorities halt this ongoing torture and destruction.

The existing evidence at Khavaran and at all other mass graves must be preserved for an international investigation to hold the perpetrators of this ongoing crime accountable.

JVMI calls on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran Prof. Javaid Rehman, and other relevant UN and international officials to publicly condemn attempts at destroying evidence at the Khavaran mass grave and denying access to families of victims of the 1988 massacre. The Iranian authorities should be called on to immediately halt these crimes.

Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI)
30 May 2022