Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
|Method(s)||Documenting Human Rights Violations|
The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) is a registered non-profit organization based in New Haven, Connecticut. HRDC was founded in 2004 by a group of human rights scholars, activists, and historians to document the patterns of human rights abuse in Iran and to promote accountability, a culture of human rights, and the rule of law in Iran. Board members include prominent American legal scholars such as Professors Owen Fiss and John Simon (Yale University), Lawrence Douglas (Amherst College), and Laura Dickenson (Arizona State University), and prominent Iranian-American author Roya Hakakian. Gissou Nia is currently the group’s executive director.
Mission and activities
The overall mission of the Center is fourfold.
First, to establish a comprehensive and objective historical record of the human rights situation in Iran, and on the basis of that record, establish responsibility for patterns of human rights abuses.
Second, to make the record available in an archive that is accessible to the public for research and educational purposes.
Third, to promote accountability, respect for human rights and the rule of law in Iran.
Fourth, to encourage an informed dialogue on the human rights situation in Iran among scholars and the general public in Iran and abroad.
The US State Department has been the group’s "main source of funds," providing US$3 million since the group's founding. Following the disputed 2009 presidential elections in Iran the government of Canada also granted it money. The Center is also supported by private foundations and individual donors.
Human rights investigation
IHRDC currently has two basic programs: (1) a human rights investigation, analysis and reporting program, and (2) a large document database, the Aadel Collection, that is available to persons in Iran and worldwide.
The Aadel Collection is a database of documents, photographs and videos relating to the human rights situation in Iran since 1979. It is particularly valuable for local Iranian human rights advocates to be able to access information on the human rights situation that is suppressed by the Iranian government. The database empowers researchers inside Iran to conduct their own investigations and provides support for human rights advocacy.
The Collection includes documentary evidence, texts of Iranian and international laws, and lengthy written and video witness statements obtained in interviews by IHRDC staff lawyers. The video statements are in Persian and subtitled in English, and the written statements are published in English and Persian. The written documents in the database are searchable through their entire texts, or through keywords and dates where full-text searchability is not available.
The Center’s human rights reports, published in English and Persian, are the result of extensive primary research including interviews of witnesses located world-wide, and collection of other evidence. They preserve testimony and knowledge regarding the regime’s human rights record. They also address the needs of policy-makers and the world to know about human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian government against civil society.
Response from the Islamic Republic of Iran
IHRDC has been named on a list of 60 organizations designated as subversive by the Iranian Interior Ministry. In the fall of 2009, the Center was again condemned by Kayhan, a conservative Iranian newspaper.
The IHRDC has published nineteen in-depth reports in English and Persian to date:
- Impunity in Iran: The Death of Photojournalist Zahra Kazemi
- A Faith Denied: The Persecution of the Baha’is of Iran
- Murder at Mykonos: Anatomy of a Political Assassination
- Community under Siege: The Ordeal of the Baha’is of Shiraz
- No Safe Haven: Iran's Global Assassination Campaign
- Mockery of Justice: The Framing of Siamak Pourzand
- Condemned by Law: Assassination of Political Dissidents Abroad
- Crimes Against Humanity: The Islamic Republic’s Attacks on the Bahá’ís
- Covert Terror: Iran’s Parallel Intelligence Apparatus
- Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Iran's Response to the Internet
- Deadly Fatwa: Iran's 1988 Prison Massacre
- Forced Confessions: Targeting Iran's Cyber-Journalists
- Speaking For The Dead: Survivor Accounts of Iran's 1988 Massacre
- Violent Aftermath: The 2009 Election and Suppression of Dissent in Iran
- Silencing the Women's Rights Movement in Iran
- Surviving Rape in Iran's Prisons
- Haunted Memories: The Islamic Republic’s Executions of Kurds in 1979
- On the Margins: Arrest, Imprisonment and Execution of Kurdish Activists in Iran Today
- Denied Identity: Human Rights Abuses Against Iran's LGBT Community
- IHRDC (15 November 2011). "The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center Welcomes Gissou Nia as Executive Director". IranHRDC.org. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
- "60 Subversive Organizations". Fars News Agency. 5 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- "Condemning IHRDC". Kayhan News. Retrieved 18 October 2009.