Recent Stories

Dr. Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury. (Photo courtesy of Magdalene College)
Subject: Human Rights
London—15 April 2014Two senior leaders of the Church of England have praised the ground-breaking action of an Iranian ayatollah who last week called for religious "coexistence" by dedicating to the Baha'is of the world, and particularly the Baha'is of Iran, an illuminated calligraphic rendering of a passage from their sacred texts. Lord Rowan Williams of Oystermouth, the former archbishop of Canterbury, said the gift of Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani was of "immense significance". "It represents not only a personally gracious gesture but also a strand within the Islamic world at its best and most creative... Read more . . .
Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani perfecting an illuminated work of calligraphy. The words used in this piece are from the writings of Baha'u'llah.
Subject: Human Rights
New York—7 April 2014In a symbolic and unprecedented move, Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani, a prominent Muslim cleric in Iran announced today that he has gifted to the Baha'is of the world an illuminated work of calligraphy of a paragraph from the writings of Baha'u'llah, the Prophet-founder of the Baha'i Faith. This move comes in the wake of several recent statements by religious scholars in the Muslim world who have set out alternative interpretations of the teachings of Islam in which tolerance of every religion is, in fact, upheld by the holy Qur'an. "This is a most welcome and hopeful development with... Read more . . .

Photo: UN Geneva
Geneva—28 March 2014The UN Human Rights Council’s overwhelming vote today to extend the mandate of its special investigator on Iran shows that the international community is pleased with Ahmed Shaheed’s excellent work and it expects Iran to make good on its promises to improve human rights, said the Baha'i International Community. “The vote today to extend the mandate of Ahmed Shaheed is a powerful signal that the world expects action – not just words – from President Rouhani and his government on human rights,” said Diane Ala’i, Representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva... Read more . . .

Ming H. Chong

Viewpoint by Ming Hwee Chong Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations
New York—26 March 2014Although the priority theme of the 52nd Commission for Social Development revolved around “promoting empowerment,” there was remarkably little discussion of how people actually come to be empowered. Given that empowerment means many things to many people, I should perhaps clarify at the outset my understanding of this multi-faceted term. I understand individual and collective empowerment to be the expansion of vision, capacity and volition necessary for people to act as effective agents of human well-being and prosperity.  While the Commission for Social Development dedicated much time to... Read more . . .

Geneva—18 March 2014Overall, human rights in Iran have not improved substantially since the election of President Hassan Rouhani last year, despite his promises to grant citizens more rights and to end discriminatory practices, according to Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s expert on the issue. In a presentation to the Human Rights Council yesterday, Dr. Shaheed said that while Iran had made a few positive steps towards strengthening human rights, the government continues to violate international legal standards, oppress women, and persecute ethnic and religious minorities, including members of the Baha'i Faith. “Hundreds of... Read more . . .
“Fostering Interreligious Communication” (13 March 2014)
Geneva—13 March 2014 Religious hatred, a cause of religious violence and numerous violations of religious freedom, is not a natural or irreversible phenomenon – it can be addressed by measures aimed at building trust or a greater sense of community. That was among the ideas presented at a panel discussion on “Countering Religious Hatred while Respecting Human Rights,” which was held 12 March 2014 as a side event to the 25th session of the Human Rights Council. “Hatred in the name of religion – this I would say is one of the most disturbing phenomena that I come across,” said Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN’s Special... Read more . . .
New York—28 February 2014Can the world effectively more forward with a post 2015 development agenda if most countries are mired in policies of economic austerity? And what is the relation between domestic cut-backs in social programs and the rising tide of protests around the world? These were among the main questions addressed at an informal breakfast meeting on 28 February 2014 at the offices of the Baha’i International Community on the topic of “Austerity measures and the new development agenda.” The event was the 17th in a series of discussions between diplomats, UN officials, and representatives of civil... Read more . . .
New York—19 February 2014The seating layout was more like a restaurant or wedding reception than your typical NGO side-event. Rather than in rows opposite a podium, the chairs were set up around four tables, so that participants were facing each other for intimate conversation. The idea was to foster exactly kind of participation and empowerment that was the main theme of the UN Commission for Social Development this year. And, according to those in attendance, the event succeeded in this regard. “I thought it was energizing,”... Read more . . .

Inequality Matters: Report of the World Social Situation 2013
UNITED NATIONS—14 February 2014Inequalities of wealth, whether at the national or international level, are largely the result of social, economic, and political policies – and they can therefore be undone through policy measures, according to a new report from the United Nations. “The experience of some countries shows that growing inequality is neither destiny nor a necessary price to pay for economic growth. Policy makes a difference,” according to the report, “Inequality Matters: Report of the World Social Situation 2013.” Released 14 February 2014 by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the... Read more . . .
Geneva—7 February 2014In an apparent hate crime, three Baha'is were stabbed in their home in Birjand, Iran, by an unidentified intruder on Monday, 3 February, the Baha'i International Community has learned. The three – a husband and wife and their daughter – survived but are currently in intensive care at a nearby hospital. According to reports from Iran, the attacker – who was masked– entered the home of Ghodratollah Moodi and his wife, Touba Sabzehjou, at about 8 pm. He immediately assaulted Mr. Moodi, Mrs. Sabzehjou, and their daughter, Azam Moodi, with a... Read more . . .

Pages

Subscribe to Recent Stories