|2021. 8 Jul
|The Bahá'í International Community made representation to the United Nations or the Iranian government to be held accountable for its campaign of hate speech against the Baha’is in Iran. In previous months, the four-decades long state-sponsored campaign of hate speech and propaganda reached new levels, increasing in both sophistication and scale. This provoked fresh concerns for the rights of the Baha’is in Iran, as history had shown that flagrant violations of human rights often take place in a climate of hate and disinformation following such propaganda efforts.
The websites and social media channels are compounded by videos, print newspaper articles and other written media, books, seminars, exhibitions, graffiti and fatwas from both official outlets and others sponsored by the government but purporting to be independent. [Bahá'í International Community News]
Since 2017, more than 33,000 pieces of toxic anti-Bahá’í content have been published or broadcast. In recent years, hundreds of websites and dozens of social media accounts have systematically attacked the Bahá’í community, misrepresenting Bahá’í beliefs in a manner designed to cause maximum offence to Iran’s Muslim-majority population. [CiJA Statement on Iranian anti-Baahá'í Campaign] (The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada.)
António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, in his 2019 Plan of Action to Combat Hate Speech, said that “[h]ate speech is a menace to democratic values, social stability and peace. As a matter of principle, the United Nations must confront hate speech at every turn. Silence can signal indifference to bigotry and intolerance, even as a situation escalates and the vulnerable become victims.”
Incitement to hatred is prohibited under international treaties that Iran itself has ratified, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [United Nations Plan of Action on Hate Speech]
The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHR) and Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) strongly condemn the increase in anti-Bahá'í propaganda disseminated by Iranian state-run media. A recent report by the Bahá'í Community of Canada found that “Iran’s state-sponsored campaign of hatred against the Bahá’'í Faith has been on the rise across all media platforms, including the web, social media, radio, newspapers, and television.” On the 20th of July they issued a joint statement from Professor Irwin Cotler, Founder and International Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Mr. Ali Ehsassi, Member of Parliament (House of Commons of Canada) and Mr. Anders Österberg, Member of the Swedish ParliamentFounding Member of PGA’s Parliamentary Rapid Response Team (PARRT).
See the report entitled State-sponsored hate propaganda against Iranian Bahá’ís published by the Office of Public Affairs of the Bahá’í Community of Canada.
See a speech titled A Non-Governmental Perspective on the Relative Effectiveness of Multilateral and Bilateral Measures by Bani Dugal, the Principal Representative, United Nations Office, Bahá’í International Community given in Florence, Italy 9 April 2022. The talk was presented at a conference on Religion, Hateful Expression and Violence sponsored by the Centre for International Law Research and Policy.
|Bahai International community; United Nations; Persecution, Iran; Hate Speech; Irwin Cotler; Ali Ehassi; Anders Osterberg; Bani Dugal