Situation of Baha’is in Iran

HRC35 - Item4

HRC35 - Item4

Item:4 General Debate - 23rd Meeting, 35th Regular Session Human Rights Council

Geneva—15 June 2017

Mr. President,

Just weeks ago, two brothers, who had stabbed to death Mr. Farhang Amiri in the city of Yazd in Iran and in front of his house, were brought to court where they admitted to having killed Mr. Amiri because he was a Baha'i and therefore an apostate. They also claimed that his murder was in fact a pious deed, justified by verses from the Holy Qu’ran. They showed no remorse and, on the contrary, appeared to be prepared to kill other Baha'is as well.  Having heard all of this, the judge decided to release them on bail.  It is inconceivable to imagine such an act by a judge if the victim were not a Baha'i.

This impunity that prevails in Iran stems from the clear government policy that Baha'is must be treated differently than other Iranians, that their blood can be shed, that they can be imprisoned for long sentences without any proof to substantiate their charges, that their properties can be confiscated, that their shops can be sealed under the excuse that they were closed on Baha'i Holy Days, and that their youth can be denied access to higher education. Many of these injustices are outlined in an official 1991 government memorandum that deals with “The Baha'i Question”.

Another point of this memorandum, which was revealed two years later by the then-UN Special Representative on Iran, states that their cultural roots outside the country must also be confronted and destroyed.

Today, Iran has exported its persecution of the Baha'is to Yemen, where a similar systematic campaign is being waged against them by the Houthi de facto authorities. Yemeni Baha'is are imprisoned with no legal basis and detained indefinitely by being denied a proper court hearing, and tens of others, including women, have been issued arrest warrants, forcing them into hiding for weeks.

Mr. President,

The Iranian government has time and again repeated its commitment to human rights principles and is a signatory of the two Covenants. It is time that the international community call on the Islamic Republic of Iran to stop treating Iranian Baha'is without regard for these commitments and to stop inciting hatred against Baha'is, both within and outside of its borders.

Murderers of a Baha’i Released on Bail

Murderers of a Baha’i Released on Bail

The two murderers of Mr. Farhang Amiri, a Baha’i who was stabbed to death in September 2016 in Iran, have been released on bail after having confessed to killing him because of his faith.

Mr. Amiri, 63, was murdered outside his home on 26 September 2016 in the city of Yazd, where his family had long resided.  On the evening of the murder, the two men, who had come to his residence the night before under the pretense of wanting to purchase his vehicle, returned to ask for Mr. Amiri.  When he came to the door, they violently stabbed him multiple times.

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.

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