Situation of Baha’is in Iran

Mandate renewed for UN Iran human rights monitor

Mandate renewed for UN Iran human rights monitor

Following strong expressions of concern about human rights violations in Iran from the UN Secretary General and the Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, the Human Rights Council today voted to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for another year, ensuring continued monitoring of the situation.

“The human rights situation in Iran has generally not improved,” said Diane Ala’i, a representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva, “while in fact for Baha’is the situation has in many ways deteriorated over the last year.

Iran’s persecution of Baha’is has become more covert

Iran’s persecution of Baha’is has become more covert

UN Human Rights Council – 34st Session, March 2017

Agenda Item 4

Geneva—15 March 2017

Mr. President,

For nearly four decades, the Iranian government has tried to eliminate the Baha’i community as a viable entity. In the process, it has committed large-scale human rights violations. Today, arrests, arbitrary detention, long term imprisonments, unfair or mock trials, home raids, confiscation of belongings, harassment, physical and verbal abuse and pressure to recant their faith remain the day-to-day lot of thousands of Iranian Baha’is. Moreover, a campaign of incitement to hatred has led to a rise in the number of suspicious killings of Baha’is, in which the perpetrators have yet to face justice, let alone to be condemned.

Although these archaic methods have raised the concerns and remain under the scrutiny of the international community, the Iranian government has recently stepped up its persecution of the Baha’is adding more covert and less quantifiable tactics to this already long list.

Despite all their claims to the contrary, the Iranian authorities are still barring access to higher education for Baha’i youth, ultimately depriving three generation of Baha’is of highly qualified employment. But even this does not seem to be enough; with the institutionalized denial of work in the public sector, now the government has also a systematic plan to close Bahai shops.  This plan aims at the slow suffocation of an entire community.  Do we know of any other government that plans to promote poverty amongst its own citizens?

Mr. President,

The Iranian representatives repeatedly stated that Iran is committed to respecting human rights. However, the rhetoric used outside of Iran clearly contradicts what happens inside the country. This latest desperate search for new tactics is a case in point, underscoring the effectiveness of international scrutiny and highlighting that it is an ongoing need. We thus hope that the mandate of the Special Rapporteur is renewed so that she can continue her important work.

Thirty-two European parliamentarians call for an end to “economic apartheid” against Baha’is in Iran

Thirty-two European parliamentarians call for an end to “economic apartheid” against Baha’is in Iran

Calling Iran’s efforts to oppress Baha’i businesses a form of “economic apartheid,” 13 members of the European Parliament and 19 MPs from seven national parliaments have signed a statement calling on Iranian authorities to immediately remove the obstacles that prevent Baha’is from earning a living in Iran and contributing to the progress of their country.

Question to UN Special Rapportuer on human rights in Iran

Question to UN Special Rapportuer on human rights in Iran

UN Human Rights Council – 34st Session, March 2017
Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Geneva—13 March 2017

Ms. Jahangir,

The Baha'i International Community welcomes your appointment as Special Rapporteur on Iran. We are of the firm opinion that scrutiny by the international community of the gross human rights violations which take place in that country is vital. When one looks at the case of the Baha'i community, the conclusion can be easily drawn that this monitoring has prevented the Iranian government to achieve its aim, which is to destroy that community as a viable entity.

Iran has been using all the tools at its disposal to persecute a segment of its own population, simply because they hold a belief different from those in power:

  • Its Judiciary has been condemning Baha'is to long term imprisonments on false charges, many of which are vaguely defined as “acting against national security”. To date 90 Baha'is remain in Iranian jails.
  • The Iranian Intelligence Ministry’s hand can be seen in the systematic barring of young Bahá’ís from higher education and from ensuring that young and old are not allowed to earn a decent living, excluding them from the public sector and from some positions in the private sector, revoking business licenses, confiscating farmland, sealing shops and not allowing them to receive duly earned pensions.
  • The state sponsored media regularly produces films, television shows, fake documentaries and misleading news reports in which Baha'is are vilified and which arouse incitement to hatred against them.
  • Many of the clerics also use their pulpits to incite hatred and urge the population to ostracize the Baha'is.
  • Even the dead cannot rest in peace as Baha'i burials are prohibited and Baha'i cemeteries are bulldozed or confiscated.

Not to mention the fact that Baha'is are not entitled to the right to worship and organize themselves as a religious community.

Despite these efforts, the Baha'is remain the largest non-Muslim religious minority in the country and continue to demonstrate constructive resolve, as they work for the improvement of the society around them.

Ms. Jahangir,

Could you please indicate your assessment of this situation and how you think the Iranian government can be convinced to abide by its international commitments?

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