Historic Turning Point as Mothers of Khavaran Receive an International Award
Justice for Iran (JFI) – May 14, 2014 | After more than a quarter of a century of struggle to raise awareness about the plight of their loved ones, Mothers of Khavaran receive the 2014 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.
Following the 1988 mass execution of political prisoners in Iran, survivors including family members and mothers of thousands of victims began a movement of support for each other and appeal to the authorities to uncover the truth about the fate of countless political prisoners, whom Islamic Republic officials executed in secrecy and buried unceremoniously within the span of a four month period. Their indefatigable commitment to this cause lead the Mothers to discover the unmarked mass graves at Khavaran cemetery in southeast Tehran. Despite much harassment and persecution during three decades, Mothers of Khavaran emerged as a symbol of resistance, seeking truth and justice on behalf of those whose lives were cut short by the Islamic Republic judiciary.
The May 18 Memorial Foundation was established in 1994 to honor the memory of the victims of 18 May 1980 democratic uprising, the starting point of democratization in South Korea. In 2011 the Foundation established the annual Gwangju Prize for Human Rights in order to promote “the spirit of the May 18 Democratic Uprising in which the people of Gwangju resisted against brutal military forces for the sake of democracy and human rights”.
This year the Foundation is honoring Mothers of Khavaran along with Adilur Rahman Khan, a constitutional rights activist from Bangladesh as co-laureates. Justice for Iran (JFI) congratulates Mothers of Khavaran on this historic occasion and hopes the award will serve a wake up call for the Islamic Republic authorities to grant families of the 1988 political prisoners massacre greater freedom and to initiate a process of truth and reconciliation for the survivors of this tragic episode. The award ceremony will be held on Sunday, 18 May 2014 in Korea.
Earlier this year JFI authored the Mothers of Khavaran Wiki entry aimed at raising awareness about this network, its central figures and its significant contributions to the cause of human rights and justice in Iran and at the international level.
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