Persecution of Baha'is in Iran extends across all stages of life

GENEVA, 18 March 2013, (BWNS) ― The attacks against Baha’is in Iran represent one of the clearest cases of state-sponsored religious persecution in the world, said Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

Speaking 6 March 2013 in Geneva at a side event during the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council, Mr. Bielefeldt discussed the release of a new report by the Baha’i International Community, which documents rising violence against Iranian Baha’is and the utter impunity enjoyed by attackers.

“It’s really one of the most obvious cases of state persecution,” he said, noting that the repression faced by Baha’is spans “all areas of state activity, from family law provisions to schooling, education, and security.”

He asked participants at the side event – which drew some 50 representatives from governments, the UN, and non-governmental organizations – to visualize the impact such wide-ranging persecution has on an individual as he or she moves through the stages of life.

“Imagine what that means for a child, in school, maybe even kindergarten, sometimes even in the preschool phase, of young life. To be exposed to the stigma, to be told there is something wrong with your family, that you have to change, you have to adapt,” said Mr. Bielefeldt.

“Then, as the child gets to the age of higher education, now the problem is how to get access,” he continued. “We have lots of cases of Baha’is who have been expelled from universities and other sectors of higher education.”

“Imagine what it means if a person wants to gather position in life, to get a job. There is not the slightest possibility for a Baha’i to take a position in any public sector . But even in the private sector, there is mobbing and stigmatization.”

“How can a person start a family life, if in family law there is no official space for Baha’is to conclude valid marriages?” he asked, noting that this deficiency affects concerns ranging from inheritance to rights of custody.

Attacks do not even end with death, he added. “There is the experience of desecration of cemeteries…  cemeteries being also bulldozed down by someone.”

Pointing to the report, titled “Violence with Impunity: Acts of aggression against Iran’s Baha’i community,” Mr. Bielefelt said that the increasing violence against Iranian Baha’is – and the degree to which attackers escape prosecution for their crimes – is clear.

“Not only do Baha’is have to expect a lack of protection-government agencies are very often inimical, hostile forces.”

http://news.bahai.org/

 

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.

Latest news

Related news