IHRWG condemns crackdown on Baha'is in Iran
Iranian Human Rights Working Group (IHRWG), Oct 16, 1998 -- A renewed effort by the authorities of the Islamic Republic to crack down on the Baha'i monirity in the country appears to be underway.
On September 29, French members of the Baha'i faith reported that the death sentence of two Baha'is, Sirus Zabihi-Muqaddam and Hedayat Kashefi Najafabadi, had been confirmed in Mashhad. After a year of imprisonment, the two were found guilty of converting a Muslim woman to the Bahai faith. The woman has denied the allegation. Another Baha'i, Ataollah Hamid Nasirizadeh was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the same court. Family members were not allowed to attend the trials and court officials informed the families verbally of the sentences.
On October 1, there were reports that up to 36 Baha'is were arrested in 14 cities across Iran. Details of the charges against them are not yet available. On October 7, Gerald Filson, a spokesman for the Baha'i community in Canada, reported that some 500 homes of Baha'is were raided in Iran, and personally owned household items such as furniture and television sets were seized.
The Iranian Human Rights Working Group (IHRWG) strongly condemns the recent crackdown against the Iranian Baha'i community. The Iranian Baha'is have been ruthlessly persecuted by the authorities of the Islamic Republic and are deprived of most basic rights, including the right to freely and publicly practice their religion, the right to higher education, the right to representation, and access to all jobs.
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR), as well as articles 18.1 and 26 of the Convention on Civil and Political Rights, make it clear that all human beings should enjoy the freedom of religion, including the freedom to change one's religion. The IHRWG in accordance with article 2 of the Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Right and article 2.1 of the Convention on Civil and Political Rights that compel the State Parties to the conventions to ensure respect for all rights of all of their citizens without any exceptions demands that the government of Iran:
- immediately stop its campaign against the Baha'i community;
- stay the execution of Sirus Zabihi-Muqaddam and Hedayat Kashefi Najafabadi;
- grant the Bahai's full freedom to practice their religion, as required by UDHR, with no fear from, or interference by, the State orotherwise;
- take necessary steps to enact laws to guarantee protection of all minorities against discrimination and violation of their human rights.
- respect the right of Bahai's as full citizens of Iran, with all the rights stipulated in the UDHR, and with no discrimination on any grounds whatsoever.
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