The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns the continued persecution of the Baha’i community in Iran. Notes from a local government meeting calling for increased control of Baha’is were leaked publicly by the League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran and the International Federation for Human Rights.
There is a clear pattern and practice of persecution targeting Baha’is stemming directly from Iranian authorities. The documents, which specifically instruct education officials to target Baha’i students, are a reflection of official regime policies aimed purposefully at persecuting the Baha’i religious minority, including through land seizures in Ivel. Unfortunately, the release of government plans to ramp-up their campaign against the Baha’is comes as no surprise, as state-sanctioned hate and discrimination have long been commonplace in Iran.
Indeed, Baha’is are not recognized under the Iranian constitution, and for decades, have faced persecution by the Iranian government, including arbitrary arrests and incarceration as prisoners of conscience, anti-Baha’i propaganda disseminated by state media, and systematic exclusion from educational and economic opportunities. Notably, this widespread repression includes denying Baha’is access to attend university and documented cases of Iranian authorities closing down Baha’i-owned businesses. Recent increases in anti-Baha’i sentiment, largely a result of top-down policy directives, have led to a more aggressive approach by the regime with respect to the Baha’i community, with human rights defenders pointing to the expulsion of 27 Baha’i families in Ivel as being directly associated with the meeting in Sari.
And so, it is time to sound the alarm regarding the systematic persecution of Baha’is. We cannot ignore their plight and pain. Nor can we stand idly by as the regime in Iran continues to violate their most fundamental rights.