Hundreds of family members of the 1988 massacre victims in Iran asked the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prevent the “destruction and changes made at the Khavaran cemetery” by the regime.
Khavaran cemetery is believed to contain the remains of thousands of victims of the 1988 extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances.
A letter signed by nearly 800 members of the families of the 1988 massacre victims and sent to Javid Rahman, the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, demands that the Iranian regime “stop harassing and threatening the grieving families.”
Videos and images published on social media in May showed that the authorities 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.
Iranian authorities have long been attempting to keep family members of the 1988 massacre victims away from this site and seeking to destroy evidence of the mass graves in order to deny the entire massacre.
Authorities have previously destroyed the graves of the 1988 massacre victims 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 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.