Elias Bejjani/Text & Video: The UN Undermines Its Values and Principles by Honoring Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi


Elias Bejjani/Text & Video: The UN Undermines Its Values and Principles by Honoring Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi
Elias Bejjani / May 30, 2024

Click Here to read and listen to the Arabic version of this piece/اضغط هنا لقراء المقالة ومشاهدة الفيديو بالعربية

It is sad, unfortunate, and infuriating that the United Nations is set to hold a memorial for the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on May 3o, 2024, who died on May 20, 2024, in a helicopter crash along with several high-ranking Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Abdollahian.

In response to this scandalous act, numerous protests have erupted across many countries that respect human rights principles. Reports on these protests against the UN’s decision to honor Raisi highlight a wave of anger and resentment among the Iranian community and the international society.

Ebrahim Raisi, who is held accountable for crimes against humanity, including the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran, should not be honored by the United Nations. Raisi was a member of the “Death Committee,” which sentenced thousands of Iranian political prisoners, including members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), to execution. This massacre, which resulted in the deaths of more than 30,000 people, is one of the most horrific crimes in the history of the Islamic Republic. Additionally, Raisi played a significant role in suppressing popular uprisings, committing murders, arbitrary arrests, and torturing protesters, especially women and girls.

Holding a memorial for Raisi, known as “the butcher,” by the United Nations raises several serious concerns, including:

1-Undermining the Credibility of the United Nations:
Honoring a person accused of crimes against humanity contradicts the principles and charter of the United Nations, which focus on human rights and justice. This action may undermine the credibility of the international organization and weaken global confidence in it.

2-Encouraging Impunity:
Honoring Raisi sends a negative message that crimes against humanity can go unpunished, encouraging other authoritarian leaders to continue violating human rights without fear of accountability.

3-Hurting Victims of the Regime:
Honoring Raisi is an insult to the victims and their families, reopening their psychological wounds. These victims suffer from the loss of their loved ones, and the honor appears to justify the crimes committed against them.

4-Encouraging Repression:
Honoring Raisi will embolden the Iranian regime to continue its repressive policies against dissidents and increase its campaigns of oppression and violence against protesters and human rights defenders in Iran.

5-Endorsing the Crimes of Iranian Proxies:
Honoring this criminal implies that the United Nations endorses the criminal activities of Iranian terrorist and fundamentalist proxies in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Gaza, as well as the terrorist acts committed by the Iranian regime in dozens of countries worldwide.

There is way, but to compare this condemned and unacceptable  honoring celebration, to hypothetical honoring criminal figures such as Hitler, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi and many others, who committed genocide and mass atrocities.

In conclusion, this unethical, illegal, and inhumane memorial celebration, which contradicts the laws and principles of the United Nations itself, undermines and weakens international efforts to promote human rights and achieve global justice for victims of terrorism, racism, and wars. Therefore, the United Nations must review its decision and take steps to cancel Raisi’s honoring event, reaffirming its commitment to human rights and justice principles.

The author, Elias Bejjani, is a Lebanese expatriate activist
Author’s Email: Phoenicia@hotmail.com
Author’s Website: http://www.eliasbejjaninews.com

Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
Email phoenicia@hotmail.com & media.lccc@gmail.com
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A huge gathering of the Iranian community in New York to protest the scandal of Ebrahim Raisi’s memorial service at the United Nations
Iran Freedom/New York/May 30, 2024
The Iranian community in New York on Thursday organized a massive protest march in front of the United Nations headquarters to denounce the memorial service held by the United Nations for Ebrahim Raisi, known for his crimes against humanity.
The memorial service for Raisi, who died in a recent helicopter crash, sparked a wave of anger and resentment among the Iranian community around the world. Raisi is accused of horrific crimes against humanity, including his role in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran, in which more than 30,000 prisoners were killed, most of them members of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq.
Demonstrators will gather hours later in front of the United Nations headquarters, carrying banners denouncing Raisi’s crimes. They also chant slogans demanding the trial of those accused in the 1988 massacre, including Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, and Ejei, the head of the judiciary, to prevent their impunity.
This gathering is a strong message from the Iranian community to the United Nations and the international community that Raisi’s crimes will not be forgotten and that those responsible for these crimes must be brought to justice.
Families of the victims of the 1988 massacre and human rights defenders strongly opposed this memorial ceremony. This event attracted media attention, which pleased the Iranian regime, but angered the international community. Critics say the ceremony undermines the United Nations’ commitment to human rights and justice.
World leaders and human rights organizations also condemned the United Nations decision to honor Raisi. This measure is compared to honoring historical persecutors such as Hitler and Stalin, which is in direct contradiction to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Roger Carouche, Vice President of the French Senate, criticized this measure and said that this measure carries a negative message to Iranian women and youth. In the United States, Congressman Brad Sherman suggested holding a minute of silence for Raisi’s victims instead of honoring him. British officials, including Lord Ahmed and Baroness Deitch, stressed their commitment to supporting the Iranian people and criticized the presence of British representatives at the funeral.

600 activists demand that the United Nations cancel the memorial service for Ibrahim Raisi
Al-Modon – Media/May 30, 2024
More than 600 civil political activists, women’s rights defenders, families of regime victims, and artists wrote a letter to Denis Francis, President of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, asking him to refrain from holding a memorial service for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, on Friday. The activists’ statement, which was reported by Iranian opposition media, stated that Raisi, during the 45 years of the history of the Islamic Republic, directly contributed to the forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions of thousands of political opponents in the 1980s, and he also played a role in killing demonstrators in the popular uprising. The latter, in murders, arbitrary arrests, the forced disappearance and torture of thousands of demonstrators, and harassment against protesters, especially against women and girls, due to the compulsory hijab campaign. The signatories of the letter stressed that “the United Nations, as the guardian of universal human rights, should not approve or honor anyone in any position accused of crimes against humanity.” Raisi died on May 19 after his plane crashed in an accident. At the UN Security Council session a week ago, a minute of silence was announced on the occasion of the death of Raisi and his companions, and the UN flag was lowered at half-mast at its headquarters in New York, which understandably angered Iranian opponents. The letter indicated that Raisi was one of the members of the “Death Committee”, which the regime formed to try political prisoners in the 1980s, when Raisi directly contributed to the execution of 5,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988 alone. The letter stressed that “commemorating the memory of a person accused of crimes against humanity is a violation of human rights,” and they addressed the President of the United Nations General Assembly by saying: “If Hitler was killed in a plane crash, would a memorial service be held for him at the United Nations?”

UN tribute to Iran’s late President Raisi marred by protests and European and US snubs
Edith M. Lederer/The Associated Press/May 30, 2024 
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly’s tribute to Iran’s late President Ebrahim Raisi was snubbed by Western and East European nations on Thursday amid protests against honoring a leader who was reviled for his crackdown on opponents.
The assembly’s tribute was no surprise. It is a longstanding practice that the 193-member world body holds a plenary meeting to pay tribute to the memory of a sitting head of state who dies, where all U.N. regional groups send representatives to speak about their life and legacy. And there were some warm tributes to Raisi, especially from African nations.
But what happened Thursday that was highly unusual was that only representatives from the African, Asian-Pacific, and Latin American and Caribbean regional groups spoke. There were no remarks from the West European or East European groups, or from the United States, which normally speaks last representing the host country.
“The United States will not attend today’s United Nations tribute event for President Raisi in any capacity,” Nate Evans, spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the U.N. said. “Raisi was involved in numerous, horrific human rights abuses, including the extrajudicial killings of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. Some of the worst human rights abuses on record took place during his tenure.”
“The U.N. should be standing with the people of Iran,” Evans said in a statement.
While the tribute was taking place in the assembly chamber, more than 100 protesters held banners across the street from U.N. headquarters saying, “Shame on U.N. holding memorial for Raisi, Butcher of Tehran,” and chanting similar words.
Before the assembly met, 45 current and former U.N. officials, experts, ambassadors and judges sent a joint letter to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres protesting the tribute to an individual involved in mass atrocities.
Raisi, 63, a powerful figure in Iran’s authoritarian Islamic government, was killed in a helicopter crash on May 20 along with the country’s foreign minister and six others.
He had long been considered a potential successor for Iran’s supreme leader, 85-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in whose hands power ultimately rests, but was reviled by opponents, and sanctioned by the U.S., for his role in mass executions of political prisoners at the end of Iran’s long war with Iraq in the 1980s.
Many also hold Raisi responsible for the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody in September 2022 after being detained for allegedly violating Iran’s mandatory headscarf law. Amini’s death sparked mass protests against the country’s ruling theocracy, and a security crackdown that saw more than 500 people killed and over 22,000 detained.
On Thursday, General Assembly President Dennis Francis opened the meeting offering the world body’s “deepest condolences to the government and people of Iran.”
Throughout his career, Francis said, “president Raisi held significant roles in Iranian society and government – and as president, led his country’s contribution to shape the tenets of our multilateral system and international cooperation.”
Secretary-General Guterres then spoke, also offering condolences and said Raisi “led Iran at a challenging time for the country, the region and globally” – but skipping a tribute.
Guterres assured the Iranian people the United Nations stands with them “and in the quest for peace, development and fundamental freedoms.”
He was followed by Burundi’s Ambassador Zéphyrin Maniratanga who spoke on behalf of African nations and praised Raisi as a “distinguished leader who devoted his life to serving his nation and fostering international cooperation particularly with African countries.”
“The late president Raisi was a visionary leader whose dedication to the principles of equity, brotherhood, solidarity and multilateralism was evident throughout his tenure,” he said, citing Iran’s expanded trade, education and health services in Africa.
Vanuatu diplomat Marjorie Wells, speaking for the Asia-Pacific group, then spoke, calling Raisi’s death a “heartbreaking loss,” saying he served the Iranian people “with great dedication and passion” and “worked tirelessly to promote growth, justice and progress.”
Haiti’s U.N. Ambassador Antonio Rodrigue, speaking for the Latin America and Caribbean group, called Raisi’s death “a great loss” for Iran, recounting his career and saying “he dedicated his life to the service of his country.”
The West and East European and the U.S. should have followed. Instead, Assembly president Francis then gave the floor to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Nonaligned Movement which Iran belongs to for tributes that praised Raisi.
The final speaker from the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia, said Raisi served his country and sent condolences to the Iranian people and leadership saying: “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.”
Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press