End Economic Discrimination in Iran

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Source: Baha’i International Community

Human Rights Council, Item 4 – General Debate

GENEVA—22 June 2016

Mr. President,

Last week in Iran, 27 Baha’i-owned stores in Orumieh and six in Sanandaj were shut and sealed by the government, simply because the owners had halted business for one day to observe a Báha’i holy day.

Sadly, these are not isolated incidents:  since the presidency of Mr. Rouhani in 2013, hundreds of shops belonging to Baha’is have been sealed by Iranian officials.  Some of these have remained closed for two years or more, with no one accepting responsibility for the financial losses resulting from these closures that have no basis in Iranian law.  Not being satisfied, at times officials have threatened that their business licenses would be revoked and their stores shut permanently if the Baha’i shopkeepers close their businesses on Baha’i holy days

Since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the economic strangulation of the Baha’is has been the official policy of the Iranian government. This, for no other reason than their beliefs. The authorities first began to dismiss Baha’i civil servants wholesale and then moved to discourage people from doing business with them and sometimes revoking the business licenses of Baha’is in the private sector.

Since then, thousands upon thousands of Baha’is have lost their jobs or sources of livelihood. Now the closure of these small shops by the Iranian government is part of the same policy.

The Báha’is do not advertise that they close their shops because of a Baha’i holy day. They merely wish to exercise their right to freedom of worship.

Mr. President,

The Baha’is in Iran have contributed greatly to Iranian society, and they wish to live and work as citizens in their own country. It is time that Iran allowed them at least the basic human rights they deserve. We ask the Human Rights Council to call on Iran to not only abide by its international obligations but also its own national laws and to protect the Baha’i community against discrimination and exclusion in every field including economic rights.

 

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