March 6, 2018
Guest post by Hamid Bahrami. Hamid Bahrami is a former political prisoner from Iran. Living in Glasgow, Scotland, he is a human rights and political activist and works as a freelance journalist and columnist. Bahrami has contributed to The Hill, Al Arabiya English, American Thinker, EURACTIV, Newsblaze and Eureporter as his work cover’s Iran’s Middle East actions and domestic social crackdown. He tweets at @HaBahrami and blog at analyzecom
Since international law sets human rights norms those who violate them can be prosecuted. That is why all murders and human rights abusers have tried to escape justice. An example of that is Josef Mengele, a SS officer, who was never held to account for his crimes.
In this modern era, human rights abusers who commit these crimes from governmental position use international politics and economic relations to escape prosecution as Western democracies and international human rights institutions, such as the UN Human Rights Council, willingly turn a blind eye to their crimes under the pretext of diplomatic principles.
For example, Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan is indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the mass killing of civilians in Darfur. But the ICC decision has not been enforced. Beside orders from the ICC and Interpol arrest warrants, there are some officials who are sanctioned by the E.U. for serious human rights violations in their own countries. Iranian authorities are among these officials.
But what makes these sanctions teeth-less is the fact that those who imposed them in the first place are unwilling to enforce the punitive measures and prepared to disregard them because of political expediency.
During the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) annual conference in Geneva last week, one of the Iranian Officials who is currently on the EU and Swiss sanction’s list for serious violations of human rights led the delegation from Tehran.
Alireza Avaie, Minister of Justice in the cabinet of the fake moderate President Hassan Rouhani, addressed the UNHRC as he tragi-comically tried to lecture the audiences on human rights principles. Avaiee is notoriously known for the massacre of 30.000 political prisoners in Iran in the Summer of 1988. He was a member of the “Death Commission” in Khuzestan province, south-west of Iran.
The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, rightly blamed the UNHRC for allowing Avaie to speak at its meeting in Geneva. “The Human Rights Council should be ashamed to allow Mr. Avaie to address its membership”, the US Ambassador said in a statement
Now, one should question whether this tragedy undermines the E.U. policy on protection of human rights values.
The representatives of the E.U. and Sweden left during Avaie’s remark in protest but in reality, the walkout only appears staged as a hollow gesture.
There is no escaping the fact that the E.U. could refuse him entering their territory.
The Iranian opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), criticised the UN for not doing more to stop human rights abusers like Avaie to attend its annual conference as its supporters gathered outside the UN headquarters in Geneva.
Although families of the victims of the 1988 Massacre have called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hossein, to set up an investigative committee to investigate the mass executions and end impunity for the perpetrators, this scandal not only undermines the legitimate demands for justice but gives a green light to the regime to intensify its domestic repression.
The E.U. and UN should appoint a new Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran and make it clear to the Iranian authorities that they will face serious and real consequences if they do not allow the new Special Rapporteur to visit the country as part of its mandate to interview political prisoners and report on the human rights situation in Iran.
If the E.U. and UN continue to pursue their policy of appeasement, the world should expect the Iranian regime’s ally in Syria, Bashar al-Assad, to show up in Geneva next year to address the UNHRC.