Translation by Iran Press Watch
Shirin Ebadi, Iranian lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, in a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed her concerns about the Iranian Regime’s enforcement of new restrictions on religious freedoms.
In recent days, news about a ban on issuance of National ID cards to Iranian citizens who are not of the four constitutionally recognized religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism) has been circulating on social media. This news has been met with great concern by human rights activists and social media users.
A sample protest to the ban on issuance of the National ID card by a Twitter user, “The country is ensnarled in a vortex of problems, and its MPs’ main concern is to prevent its citizens from being officially recognized.”
Mrs. Ebadi is among of the critics of this new ban on issuance of National ID cards to religious minorities in Iran. In her letter of Thursday January 23, 2020, addressed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, she expressed her dismay in the creation of new restrictions against the followers of religious minorities by the Islamic Republic, and demanded use of all legal avenues to improve the human rights conditions in Iran. She detailed that almost 350,000 Baha’is live in Iran, as well as Yarsans, Yazidis, and numerous atheists. Under this new ban these groups are deprived of their civil rights.
Mrs. Ebadi ended her letter stating that “every protest in this country is answered with a bullet or imprisonment” and that despite the numerous international warnings and domestic protests, the situation of human rights in Iran continues to steadily deteriorate and is approaching a crisis.
Copies of Mrs. Ebadi’s letter were also sent to the United Nations Secretary General, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Rapporteur on Religious Freedom, Rapporteur on Freedom of Speech, and Rapporteur on Arbitrary detention.
On Friday, November 8, 2019, in a periodic meeting for review of the situation of human rights in Iran, representatives of 33 nations, including the United States, criticized the violation of the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, including the Baha’is, and demanded the Iranian Regimes observance of their rights.
Several international organizations defending human rights, as well as the United States government, have repeatedly condemned the persecution and imprisonment of the followers of religious minorities in Iran.
Javaid Rehman, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights in Iran, last July in his second report on the situation of human rights in Iran, stated that while the Islamic Republic no longer executes the Baha’is solely for their religious belief, they are still in danger of raids, detention and imprisonment. Since August 2005 more than 1,168 Baha’is have been arrested on vague and ambiguous charges.
Sam Brownback, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, told Voice of America, “Among the countries involved in the persecution of religious minorities, Iran has the most heinous record in the United States’ State Department. This regime will persecute and oppress any religious minority it deems unsuitable.”