Statements about the persecution of Bahá'ís


Statements about the persecution of Bahá'ís

The persecution of Bahá'ís refers to the religious persecution of Bahá'ís in various countries, especially in Iran, the location of one of the largest Bahá'í populations in the world. The Bahá'í Faith originated in Iran, and represents the largest religious minority in that country. Since the later part of the 20th century many third party organizations such as the United Nations, Amnesty International, the European Union, and the United States have made statements denouncing the persecution of Bahá'ís asking that human rights be maintained.cite journal | first = Friedrich W. | last = Affolter | title = The Specter of Ideological Genocide: The Bahá'ís of Iran | journal = War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity | volume = 1 | issue = 1 | pages = 59– 89 | year = 2005| url = http://www.aa.psu.edu/journals/war-crimes/v1n1a3.pdf | format = dead link|date=June 2008 – [http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=author%3A+intitle%3AThe+Specter+of+Ideological+Genocide%3A+The+Bah%C3%A1%27%C3%ADs+of+Iran&as_publication=War+Crimes%2C+Genocide+and+Crimes+Against+Humanity&as_ylo=2005&as_yhi=2005&btnG=Search Scholar search] ] Members of the Bahá'í community in Iran have been subjected to unwarranted arrests, false imprisonment, beatings, torture, unjustified executions, confiscation and destruction of property owned by individuals and the Bahá'í community, denial of employment, denial of government benefits, denial of civil rights and liberties, and denial of access to higher education.cite web | date = 2003-08-01 | title = Discrimination against religious minorities in Iran | author = International Federation for Human Rights | publisher = fdih.org | accessdate = 2006-10-20 | url = http://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/ir0108a.pdf]

United Nations

The United Nations and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has published reports on the persecution of the Bahá'ís since the Iranian Revolution in 1979; in every year since 1984, except for 2002, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has passed a resolution expressing concern about human rights violations against the Bahá'ís in Iran.The Special Representative on Iran, Professor Galindo Pohl, Canadian Jurist and UBC Law Professor, Maurice Copithorne, and the Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance, Professor Abdu’l Fatah Amor, have all reported on the persecutions that the Bahá'ís have faced in Iran. Throughout the years the Commission has written:

:*1995: "... the Bahá'ís, whose existence as a viable religious community in the Islamic Republic of Iran is threatened ..." United Nations Commission on Human Rights. [http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/TestFrame/48b7fa42bc13db5c802566db005e75f0?Opendocument Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran] . E/CN.4/RES/1995/68, 1995.] :*1997: "... the grave breaches of the human rights of the Bahá'ís in the Islamic Republic of Iran ..." United Nations Commission on Human Rights. [http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/TestFrame/bec12c44675c98e98025664800589134?Opendocument Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran] . E/CN.4/RES/1997/54, 1997.] :*1999: "... the unabated and, in some instances, worsened pattern of persecution against the Bahá'ís, including death sentences, executions, arrests and the closure of the Bahá'í Institute for Higher Education ..." United Nations Commission on Human Rights. [http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/3d1134784d618e28c1256991004b7950/c088da90320862ac80256763004f3f4e?OpenDocument Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran] . E/CN.4/RES/1999/13, 1999.] :*2000: "... unabated pattern of persecution against the Bahá'ís ..."United Nations Commission on Human Rights. [http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/350C2E909C456686802568C600328A15?opendocument Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world] . E/CN.4/2000/L.16, 2000.] :*2001: "... its concern at the still-existing discrimination against persons belonging to minorities, in particular against Bahá'ís ..." United Nations Commission on Human Rights. [http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/70ef163b25b2333fc1256991004de370/714795fdf320ea54c1256a3b001e304d?OpenDocument Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran] . E/CN.4/RES/2001/17, 2001.] :*2004: "... the Committee has noted discriminatory practices against the members of the Bahá'í [sic] in education [and] the Government provides no new information on the situation of the Bahá'í [sic] in terms of access to university and institutes of higher learning ..."United Nations. Islamic Republic of Iran: Convention No. 111: Discrimination (Employment and Occupation), 1958. [http://webfusion.ilo.org/public/db/standards/normes/appl/appl-displayAllComments.cfm?hdroff=1&ctry=0480&conv=C111&Lang=EN In Report of the Committee on Excerpts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendation] . Equality of Opportunity and Treatment, 2004.] :*January 2004: "The situation of the Bahá'ís is also a cause of concern for the Special Rapporteur. Members of the Bahá'í community are barred from expressing themselves as Bahá'í. The Bahá'í community are routinely harassed, arrested and sometimes sentenced to long periods of imprisonment either for apostasy or association with Bahá'ís institutions" Ambeyi Ligabo. [http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/0/788cfe921a9879a4c1256e460057c9b0/$FILE/G0410187.doc Report Submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression] , Ambeyi Ligabo. Addendum: Mission to the Islamic Republic of Iran. In UN Commission on Human Rights. Civil and Political Rights, including the question of freedom of expression E/CN.4/2004/62/Add.2, January 12 2004.] :*March 2005: "... individuals in the city of Babul began to destroy a property with great religious significance to the Bahá'í community worldwide ... . Despite attempts to protect the site, it was reported that the demolition of the rest of the structure had continued gradually and quietly, in a manner designed not to attract attention. ... the reported discrimination faced by certain minorities, including the Bahá'ís, who are deprived of certain rights ... appear to be discriminatory on both ethnic and religious grounds." United Nations. [http://minbyun.jinbo.net/minbyun/un_61/9-%C1%D6%BF%E4%BA%B8%B0%ED%BC%AD(%BA%CF%C7%D1%BB%F3%C8%B2%BE%F0%B1%DE)/5-Item11(e)-Report%20by%20SR.pdf Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief] , Asma Jahangir Addendum: Summary of cases transmitted of Governments and replies received. In UN Commission on Human Rights. Civil and Political Rights, Including the Question of Religious Intolerance E/CN.4.2005/61/Add.1, March 2005.] :*March 2005: "... it continues to be concerned at reports that these minorities, in particular the Bahá'í minority, are subjected to harassment, intimidation and imprisonment on account of their religious beliefs" cite book | url = http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/816601ca7398c9b3c1257021004d0583/$FILE/G0540872.DOC | author = United Nations | chapter = Concluding Observations: The Islamic Republic of Iran | title = UN Committee on the Rights of the Child | publisher = Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 44 of the Convention CRC/C/15/ADD.254 | date = 2005-03 | accessdate = 2006-10-20] :*July 2005: "Information collected by the Special Rapporteur seems to indicate the existence of a number of cases of confiscation of Bahá'í property ..." cite book | url = http://www.hlrn.org/documents/SRMissiontoIranNotes.doc | first = Miloon | last = Kothari | chapter = Country Mission to Iran - 19 to 31 July 2005 | title = Selections from Preliminary Findings-relevant to Bahá'ís in UN Commission on Human Rights | publisher = Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing | date = 2005-07 | accessdate = 2006-10-20] :*November 2005: "... the escalation and increased frequency of discrimination and other human rights violations against the Bahá’í [sic] , including cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, the denial of freedom of religion or of publicly carrying out communal affairs, the disregard of property rights, the destruction of sites of religious importance, the suspension of social, educational and community-related activities and the denial of access to higher education, employment, pensions, adequate housing and other benefits ...". The United Nations "calls upon the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran ... to ensure equality before the law and the equal protection of the law without any discrimination in all instances, including for members of religious, ethnic, linguistic or other minority groups, officially recognized or otherwise ... . To eliminate, in law or in practice, all forms of discrimination based on religious, ethnic or linguistic grounds, and other human rights violations against persons belonging to minorities, including Arabs, Kurds, Baluchi, Christians, Jews, Sunni Muslims and the Bahá’í [sic] , and to address this matter in an open manner, with the full participation of the minorities themselves, to otherwise ensure full respect for the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief of all persons, and to implement the 1996 report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on religious intolerance, which recommended ways the Islamic Republic of Iran could emancipate the Bahá’í [sic] community."United Nations (2005-11-02) [http://info.bahai.org/pdf/GA05_Iran_resolution60.pdf Human rights questions: human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives] General Assembly, Sixtieth session, Third Committee. A/C.3/60/L.45]

Amnesty International

Amnesty International has also documented the persecution of the Bahá'í community in Iran. It has written:

:*1993: "Serious human rights violations persist in Iran. Real or imagined political opponents are targeted, along with religious minorities such as Bahá'ís" cite web | url = http://www.amnestyusa.org/regions/middleeast/document.do?id=787C72C9B2B433B8802569A6006040A2 | author = Amnesty International USA | title = Iran: Serious Violations Continue amid Political and Religious Repression | date = 1993-11-23 | accessdate = 2006-10-20 | publisher = AI Index: MDE 13/11/93] :*1996: "At least 201 have been executed, most during the 1980s and apparently in connection with their religious beliefs. Bahá'ís are not permitted to meet, to hold religious ceremonies or to practice their religion communally. Bahá'í buildings, sites and centres have been confiscated and closed; private and business property of individual Bahá'ís has been confiscated, and Bahá'ís have been dismissed from government posts and schools" cite web | title = Dhabihullah Mahrami: Prisoner of Conscience | author = Amnesty International | date = 1996-10 | accessdate = 2006-10-20 | url = http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/MDE130341996?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES%5CIRAN | publisher = AI INDEX: MDE 13/34/96] :*1998: "Amnesty International unreservedly condemns the execution of Ruhullah Rouhani and fears that he was executed for the non violent expression of his beliefs. Amnesty International currently knows of seven cases of Bahá'í prisoners under the sentence of death and is calling for commutation of these and all other death sentences without delay" cite web | title = Amnesty International condemns execution of Baha’i | accessdate = 2006-10-20 | date = 1998-07-24 | url = http://web.amnesty.org/aidoc/aidoc_pdf.nsf/index/MDE130121998ENGLISH/$File/MDE1301298.pdf | author = Amnesty International | publisher = AI INDEX: MDE 13/12/98]

European Union

The European Union in the 2004 EU Annual Report on Human Rights wrote:

Then in a speech given at the European Parliament in October of 2005 on behalf of the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism, Jan Figel said:

United States government

The United States Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor stated in the 2004 Report on International Religious Freedom that:

:*"The Government harasses the Bahá'í community by arresting Bahá'ís arbitrarily"cite web | title = Iran, International Religious Freedom Report | date = 2004-09-15 | accessdate = 2006-10-20 | author = United States Department of State | publisher = Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor | url = http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2004/35497.htm] :*"The property rights of Bahá'ís are generally disregarded, ... the Government has confiscated large numbers of private and business properties belonging to Bahá'ís" :*"Public and private universities continue to deny admittance to Bahá'í students" :*"... official Bahá'í schools are not allowed ..."

In 2008, the United States House of Representatives passes HR. RES. 1008, condemning the persecution of Baha'is in Iran.cite web | title = House passes resolution condemning the persecution of Baha'is in Iran | date = 2008-08-01 | accessdate = 2008-08-04 | publisher = National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States | url = http://www.bahai.us/house-resolution]

Iranian government

The Iranian government claims that Bahá'ís are enemies of the state, were supporters of the former Shah's government and spies employed by imperialist governments of the West. The Ayatollah Khomeini, even before his return to Iran said in an interview that he believed that Bahá'ís were traitors — Zionists — and enemies of Islam.cite book | first = Ervand | last = Abrahamian | title = Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic | publisher = University of California Press | location = Berkeley, CA | year = 1993 | id = ISBN 0520085035]

The Iranian representative to the United Nations tried several times, albeit unsuccessfully, between 1982 and 1984 to convince the United Nations diplomatic community that the Bahá'í Faith is a politicized organization with a record of criminal activism against the Iranian government and not a legitimate religion like Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism which are protected under Iranian law;cite journal | first = Christopher | last = Buck | title = Islam and Minorities: The Case of the Bahá'ís | journal = Studies in Contemporary Islam | volume = 5 | issue = 1 | pages = 83–106 | year =2003] Iran has not acknowledged that the Bahá'í Faith is a religion.

Iranian writers and academics

The general belief among the Iranian people follows the statements of the Iranian government that Bahá'ís are enemies of the state, and supporters of the previous government of the Shah:

There are many Iranians who have published how and why Iranians think of Bahá'ís as outsiders. Dr. Mohammad Tavakoli, a Muslim-Iranian, who is a Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto presents in "Iran-Nameh", a Persian language academic journal, a study that examines the processes that led to the ghettoization and eventual "othering" of the Bahá'ís in Iran by the political and religious forces within Iranian society.cite journal | first = Mohamed | last = Tavakoli-Targhi | title = Anti-Bahá'ísm and Islamism in Iran, 1941-1955 | journal = Iran-Nameh | volume = 19 | number =1 | pages=79–124 | year = 2001] Other statements include:

Response from the United Nations

The United Nations responded to the Iranian government's accusations by stating that there has been no evidence of Iran's claims and that the Bahá'í community in Iran professes its allegiance to the state. The United Nations pointed to the Bahá'í teaching of obedience to the government of one's country and stated that any involvement in any subversive acts against the government would be antithetical to precepts of the Bahá'í religion. The United Nations also stated that if the Iranian government did acknowledge that the Bahá'í Faith is a religion, it would be an admission that freedom of religion does not apply to all in Iran and that it is not abiding by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenants on Human Rights to which it is a signatory.

References

External links

* [http://www.bahai.org/iranthreat The Bahá'ís: The Growing Threat to Iran's Bahá'ís]
* [http://question.bahai.org/ The Bahá’í Question - Cultural Cleansing in Iran]


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