Ban Ki-moon: Baha’is “most severely persecuted religious minority” in Iran

Ban Ki-moon: Baha’is “most severely persecuted religious minority” in Iran

United Nations—5 October 2016

In his annual report to the UN General Assembly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that human rights violations in Iran continue at an “alarming rate,” noting also that Baha’is there “are the most severely persecuted religious minority.”

In a 19-page report, Mr. Ban expressed concern over Iran’s high rate of executions, continued use of torture, “far more erosion of freedom of expression,” a “crackdown” on women’s rights activists, and ongoing discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities.

Mr. Ban devoted ten paragraphs to the situation of Iranian Baha’is, referring to them as the “most severely persecuted” religious minority, “subjected to multiple forms of discrimination that affect their enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights.”

Among other things, Mr. Ban said that Baha’is are regularly prohibited from engaging in peaceful assemblies, are restricted in access to higher education, and continue to “suffer from severe economic pressure.”

“Baha’i-owned businesses have been shut down by the authorities and vandalized in a number of cities, in particular after proprietors temporarily closed their businesses to observe Baha’i holidays,” said Mr. Ban.

Mr. Ban said he is also concerned about “the increase in inflammatory comments by religious, judicial and political officials” against Baha’is.

He noted that two UN Special Rapporteurs recently said such incidents of incitement to hatred “could possibly encourage acts of violence” against Baha’is.

Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the UN, welcomed Mr. Ban’s report, saying it accurately reflected the situation facing Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority.

“Mr. Ban’s report shows unequivocally that the Iranian government has not ended its quest to destroy the Iranian Baha'i community as a cohesive entity, despite all of the talk by government officials about greater respect for human rights,” said Ms. Dugal.

“The list of violations he cites only touches on the systematic nature of the government’s campaign against Baha’is, who are discriminated against solely for their religious belief,” said Ms. Dugal.

Mr. Ban’s full report can be read here.