Destruction of mass grave site in Iran a continuation of human rights abuses against the Baha’i

The actions of the Iranian government to destroy and desecrate a mass grave site and prevent the dignified burial of members of the Baha’i community must be condemned on the international stage as serious violations of human rights.

The Khavaran mass grave site is believed to contain the remains of up to several hundred victims of the mass enforced disappearances and secret extrajudicial executions of the 1988 prison massacres. The mass grave has since become a locus of national significance for the struggle for human rights, a sacred space to memorialise the lives lost in 1988, and a crime scene with vital forensic evidence of crimes against humanity.

The Baha’i community in Australia includes 20,000 members; the Australian government owes it to these families to coordinate with the international community and help prevent further suffering of loved ones overseas. This community issued a call to the Australian government and the international community as recently as January this year, asking for relief after COVID-19 saw a new wave of home raids, land seizures and arbitrary arrests of Baha’is in Iran.

Amnesty International Australia has written to Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne asking her to support UN Human Rights Council-led action on this important matter, and to urge the Iranian government to stop violating the human rights of the Baha’i community.