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Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center Established by Griffin Center for Health and Human Rights.

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- On October 5, 2004 the Griffin Center for Health and Human Rights received a two-year $1 million grant from United States Department of State's Human Rights and Democracy Fund to establish the Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC), a program aimed at documenting human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic of Iran from 1979 to the present.

The IHRDC was initiated in March 2003 by an international group of human rights advocates, scholars, and lawyers working in partnership with the Griffin Center for Health and Human Rights. It is intended to be a center for the systematic, objective and analytical documentation of human rights violations committed in the Islamic Republic of Iran since the 1979 revolution. The IHRDC is based on the view that creating an authoritative and accessible record of such abuses is essential for peaceful democratic rule and national reconciliation. Documentation of abuses will help raise public awareness of accountability and rule of law as an important aspect of the democratization process in Iran.

Roya Hakakian, a former associate producer at CBS 60 Minutes and the author of Journey from the Land of No is a cofounder of Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. She states, "As tyranny thrives on forgetting, we intend to create a monument to remembering. So those who are working on behalf of freedom in Iran can know that others are watching, and that they have not been forsaken."

The Human Rights and Democracy Fund is the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor's allocation of the Economic Support Fund, and is used to fulfill the Bureau's mandate to monitor and promote human rights and democracy worldwide. The Fund supports innovative programming designed to uphold democratic principles, support democratic institutions, promote human rights, and build civil society in various countries and regions of the world.

Established in 1999, the Griffin Center for Health and Human Rights promotes global health and human rights practices and policies, developing new and effective strategies for dealing with complex humanitarian and silent emergencies. The center designs, develops and implements human rights projects domestically and internationally, bridging the gap between academia and grassroot human rights advocacy. The Griffin Center for Health and Human Rights is a research and training project of the Yale-Griffin Internal Medicine Residency Program and Griffin Hospital Department of Medical Education. Griffin Hospital in Derby, CT is the administrative site of the center.

According to IHRDC co-founder Dr. Payam Akhavan, a former UN Prosecutor and Yale Law School Senior Fellow, "The Center is an important initiative for all those concerned with furthering human rights and justice in Iran. It is a means for replacing both denial and speculation about abuses of power with an objective historical record based on international standards. As in South Africa, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Argentina, and many other places around the world, public knowledge of the truth is essential for national reconciliation. Accountability furthermore, is indispensable to a viable democratic system governed by the rule of law."

The IHRDC and Griffin Center for Health and Human Rights are strictly non- partisan organizations. IHRDC is not affiliated with any political group and is aimed solely at the impartial documentation of human rights violations in accordance with international standards. Its offices are based in New Haven, Connecticut.

Ramin Ahmadi, MD, founder of the Griffin Hospital Center for Health and Human Rights and assistant clinical professor of medicine at Yale expressed, "this is a historical opportunity to begin an international effort to promote the accountability and rule of law in Iran. The center looks forward to engaging Yale faculty, students and other international scholars in this unique project". Ahmadi has organized and conducted health and human rights projects in East Timor, Chechnya, Guyana and Nicaragua in recent years.

The IHRDC will issue further statements concerning its activities in due course.
 For further information on this press release please contact:
 Stephen Jewett
 860-985-8003
 sjewett@griffinhealth.org



CONTACT: Stephen Jewett of Griffin Center for Health and Human Rights, +1-860-985-8003, sjewett@griffinhealth.org
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