The Baha’i International Community would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the life and legacy of the late Asma Jahangir. She will be remembered as a courageous human rights defender, including those of the Baha’is, and an outspoken Special Rapporteur on Iran, and previously on freedom of religion or belief. In her last report, Ms. Jahangir presented the range of violations currently facing the Baha’is—including “the closure of shops; the firebombing of homes; arbitrary arrest; torture and other ill treatment whilst in detention; and discrimination whilst studying at university”.On a related note, last month, in an open letter, 25 of the world’s prominent professors, lawyers,and judges addressed the head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, Mr. Mohammad Javad Larijani, asking him to acknowledge the persecution of the Baha’is and to take steps to remedy the situation. Mr. Larijani’s attention was also drawn to a website called “The Archives of the Persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran”, which compiles, for the first time, thousands of official documents, testimonials, and audio-visual materials, revealing irrefutable proof of the relentless persecution.
The primary sources housed by this website corroborate beyond a shadow of a doubt the Special Rapporteur’s latest findings. For example, the Archives include:
- A letter from the Intelligence and National Security of the Province of Kerman reporting that, per instructions from the Ministry of Intelligence, businesses operated by members of the “Baha’i sect” were closed and sealed; A photo of a Baha’i-owned shop in Rafsanjan destroyed after an arson attack;
- A photo of Mr. Zabihollah Mahrami, who was arbitrarily imprisoned for 10 years, during which he received death threats and was forced to perform arduous physical labour. He was ultimately discovered dead in his prison cell under suspicious circumstances; and
- An internal letter from the Central Security Office of Payam-e- Nour University to a provincial president, requesting that he prevents the enrolment of Baha’i applicants.
How many more interviews does a Special Rapporteur need to conduct and how much more evidence is required until the Iranian government finally decides to take this Council seriously and begin taking steps to address the grave human rights violations occurring in its country?
Video of presentation: