They applauded the resolution adopted on November 15, by the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, regarding Human Rights in Iran. Ambassador Martin Shearman, of the UK Mission to the United Nations, stated that, “It remains crucial that we keep a focus on human rights and continue to hold the Iranian Government to account for its human rights record.”
Some 200 MPs and Peers called for an international and independent investigation of massacre of political prisoners in Iran in 1988. The call was made in a statement regarding Iran and an Early Day Motion supported by cross party members of both Houses of Parliament. Those gathered at the conference joined that call.
An estimated 30,000 political prisoners were massacred in the space of a few months, and buried secretly in mass graves during the summer of 1988. This crime against humanity was based on a fatwa decreed by the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini. The officials who facilitated the massacre still hold high positions within the regime.
In a video message, Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), addressed the conference.
She condemned the Iranian regime’s restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and religion, as well as its violent crackdown on popular protests, suppression of women and youths, and the institutionalised discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, especially the Christians and Baha’is.
Panellists concurred with Mrs. Rajavi.
Mrs Rajavi told the them, “The mullahs’ regime preserves its power [by these atrocities] … [as] the anti-government protests spread across the country.” She added, referring to the mass executions in Iranian prisons in 1988, which Sir Geoffrey Robertson QC, the former UN tribunal chief judge on Sierra Leone, described as one of the worst crimes against humanity since World War II, “On the opposite side, our people and Resistance have been advancing in their quest for freedom. A major achievement has been the Justice Seeking Movement launched to demand justice for the 30,000 political prisoners massacred in summer 1988 in Iran.”
“The mullahs for long tried to conceal this horrific crime. The distribution of an audio recording of the remarks made by Mr. Montazeri, the ousted successor to Khomeini, revealed new dimensions of the massacre … If the international community had not remained silent and passive in this regard, letting the criminals evade justice, the wave of executions and repression in Iran could not have continued to date”, she continued.
Sir David Amess, MP, the co-chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, presented the two initiatives supported by some 200 MPs and Peers. “The signatories urge the government to recognise and condemn this brutal massacre as a crime against humanity and ask the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and the Security Council to order an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice” Sir David Amess went on to say, “The statement also recognises the 10-point democratic platform presented by Mrs Maryam Rajavi as the vital road map to abolish death penalty and torture and establish democracy, gender equality and rule of law in a future Iran and urges the government to back the efforts of Iranian people and the NCRI to make this platform a reality in their country.”
The Rt. Reverend John Pritchard, said, “…following the successful relocation of the Iranian refugees in Camp Liberty to safety in Europe, we must now focus on human rights abuses that are taking place in Iran, campaigning to raise awareness and to remind the International Community, and our government, about their responsibility to turn words into action in order to hold the Iranian regime and its senior officials accountable for growing violations. This is particularly important because the Iranian judiciary is today the major obstacle to any improvements of the human rights situation in the country.”
Dr Matthew Offord MPs, said, “The current UK policy on pursing business opportunities in Iran in the post-nuclear deal era risks empowering the Revolutionary Guards, which is the paramilitary arm of the Supreme Leader and the major force in exporting terror out of Iran and suppressing any popular dissent. It also controls close to 70% of Iran’s economy.”
Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE joined Dr Matthew Offord MP and other panellists in urging “the government to make mending relations with Tehran contingent on concrete and verifiable improvements of human rights, in particular a halt to executions, torture and arbitrary arrests, without which there are no real long term dividends.”
According to the UN and International NGOs like Amnesty International, the Iranian authorities carried out over a thousand executions last year.
In a report published on January 26, 2016, Amnesty International listed 73 executions of juvenile offenders since 2005 and stated that “at least 160 juvenile offenders are currently on death row” in violation of international law and conventions that prohibits the execution of juveniles.
Other participants included, The Bishop of Stepney, The Rt Reverend Adrian Newman; The Bishop of Croydon, The Rt Reverend Jonathan Clark SCP; The Bishop of Salisbury, The Rt Reverend Nick Holtam; Christina Rees CBE, a long-time advocate for women’s ordination in the Church of England and a founder member of the Archbishops’ Council; Bob Blackman MP; Jim Fitzpatrick MP; Lord Judd; Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE; Prof. Lord Alton of Liverpool; Lord Cotter; Prof. Sara Chandler QC (Hon), Vice President of the European Bars Federation; Linda Lee, former President of the Law Society of England and Wales; Malcolm Fowler, former member of the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales; and Mr Hossein Abedini, from the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee.
Maryam Rajavi’s message to the meeting at the House of Commons is reproduced in full, below:
“The honorable members of the British Houses of Commons and Lords,
“Greetings to everyone. I am grateful for your attention to the issue of Iran and the Iranian people’s human rights, resistance and freedom.
“The P5+1 nuclear talks with the clerical regime and its consequences have placed Iran in the center of International attention over the past three years.
“Sixteen months have passed since the nuclear agreement was signed. So, there has been enough time to test various policies. The nuclear agreement was an opportunity for the mullahs to change their behavior or at least stop creating crisis and international terrorism. However, they increased their aggression and warmongering in the region, particularly in Syria. The Iranian regime remains the most hostile and significant contributor to instability in the region.
“Some thought that human rights would improve in Iran. In the past year, however, nearly 1,000 people were executed. Rouhani’s interior minister has admitted that they arrest some 600 thousand people every year. These figures are only part of the reality.
“The mullahs’ regime preserves its power by making arrests, and by torture and executions on a daily basis. These are accompanied by a constant and systematic crackdown on women and youths, arbitrary arrests and harassment of religious minorities: including Christians, even the arrest of British-Iranians, censorship of free access to the internet, and prohibiting concerts.
On the opposite side, our people and Resistance have been advancing in their quest for freedom.
“A major achievement has been the Justice Seeking Movement launched to demand justice for the 30,000 political prisoners massacred in summer 1988 in Iran. The mullahs for long tried to conceal this horrific crime. The distribution of an audio recording of the remarks made by Mr. Montazeri, the ousted successor to Khomeini, revealed new dimensions of the massacre.
“The Iranian Resistance is working through supporters in Iran to collect the documents and evidence in this regard. Our aim is to have the international community recognize this tragic massacre as a crime against humanity and prosecute the officials who were responsible. If the international community had not remained silent and passive in this regard, letting the criminals evade justice the wave of executions and repression in Iran could not have continued to date.
“Another important development has been the spread of anti-government protests across the country. Thousands of people gathered on October 28th staging a protest against the mullahs in Persepolis, at the Tomb of Cyrus who was the founder of ancient Iran and the writer of a human rights charter, 25 centuries ago.
“Finally, I would like to point out a great achievement and a major victory of the Iranian Resistance in recent months, namely, the safe and sound relocation of all members of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran from Camp Liberty to Europe.
“The mullahs did everything to stop this relocation. They tried to have some PMOI officials arrested by fake judicial verdicts. They launched rocket attacks to kill all camp residents.
“With PMOI’s efforts and an international campaign by the Iranian resistance, the mullahs’ plots failed. The relocation was the greatest blow to the mullahs over the past year.
“I would like to sincerely appreciate all the efforts and support given by the British people’s elected representatives in both houses of parliament and also the UK Church leaders for this great relocation.
“The Iranian resistance strives for a republic based on freedom, equality, and separation of religion and state; a country where the death penalty is abolished. We seek to end the mullahs’ Sharia law and guarantee freedom and equality for followers of all religions.
“I plead for your support, the elected representatives of Britain, the UK Church, and all humanitarian people in the UK to further help and support this struggle.
“The Justice seeking movement is a just common cause with roots in human dignity. We need your assistance in this movement. We need your support to encourage western governments to recognize the Iranian people’s struggle for regime change. Once again, I thank you all. And I hope to be able to see you, very soon.”