BIC Statement on Iran Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Baha'is in Iran


BIC Statement on Iran Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Baha'is in Iran

Iran, UPR Report Consideration - 31st Meeting, 43rd Regular Session Human Rights Council

Persian translation

Geneva—12 March 2020

Madam Vice-President:

The Human Rights Council is about to adopt Iran’s third Universal Periodic Review. During each of these reviews, a number of recommendations have been made regarding the persecution of the Baha’is. Five recommendations in the present report list the violation of the rights of the Baha’is – yet Iran has rejected each of them.

The only reply that Iranian authorities have given for these rejections is to say that the people of Iran enjoy equal rights. This rhetoric is not new. And regrettably it is not true.

Two years ago, Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif said that being a Baha’i “is not a crime” in Iran. Yet the Special Rapporteur tells us that the arrests and imprisonment of Baha’is continue, adding to the thousands detained, tortured and jailed since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Mr. Rehman also detailed many other ways that the rights of the Baha’is have been violated – from hate speech campaigns against them to the denial of higher education and an ongoing policy of economic apartheid.

Today Iran’s government has found a new way to discriminate against Baha’is. A mandatory new national ID card application allows citizens to select only Islam, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Judaism as their religion. The Baha’i Faith, recognised around the world, is denied in the land of its birth.

Iranians without ID cards cannot carry out the simplest tasks of life. Applying for loans or work permits, opening bank accounts, making property transactions and many other tasks are impossible for three hundred thousand people because of their beliefs.

In November, during the UPR working group, the head of Iran’s delegation Mr. Larijani himself said that Iran deals with the Baha’is “according to the citizenship contract,” as normal citizens. So how can Iran explain denying Baha’is a basic part of life?

If Iran truly claims that the UPR is an appropriate tool for the international community to address human rights, as they have said, they should have the courage of their convictions, and follow these recommendations to improve the situation of the Baha’is.