March 2018: New report by UN Special Rapporteur on Iran reiterates need for investigation into 1988 massacre

The latest report to the United Nations Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the late Asma Jahangir, drew attention to the need for an investigation into the 1988 massacre. The report (A/HRC/37/68), presented to the 37th session of the Human Rights Council, included an entire section under the heading “Summary executions in 1988”:

“21. Since the issuance of her previous report, the Special Rapporteur has continued to receive documentation and letters concerning the reported summary execution and forced disappearance of thousands of political prisoners, men, women, and teenagers in 1988. Over 150 individual submissions were received in the course of 2017. The Special Rapporteur also met with families of some of the victims during her missions. They described the difficulty they had faced in obtaining information of these events, known as the 1988 massacres, which continue to be officially unacknowledged. The Special Rapporteur also heard first-hand accounts about the harassment of those continuing to advocate for further information related to the events which took place in 1988.

22. The Special Rapporteur reiterates that families have the right to remedy, reparation, and the right to know about the truth of the 1988 massacres and about the fate of the victims. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned by reports received of the reported desecration of sites believed to be mass graves in the city of Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan Province and in Ahvaz, and urges the Government to ensure that all locations are preserved and protected until investigations into the events can be carried out.”

In its conclusion, the report added:

“85. The Special Rapporteur reiterates her call upon the Government to undertake thorough and independent investigation into the 1988 massacres, and further ensure that locations believed to be the site of mass graves are persevered and protected to this end.”