Translation by Iran Press Watch
Reports indicate that the 2022 prize of the Spanish “Liberpress” association went to the Iranian Baha’i Institute for Higher Education.
The Liberpress Association announced that the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) deserves the 2022 award for its “laudable efforts in providing higher education to thousands of Baha’i youth deprived of education in their homeland.”
The 2022 Liberpress Prize has been awarded jointly to the Bahai Institute for Higher Education and Kianoush Ramezani, a human rights cartoonist.
Since 1999, this award has been given every year to institutions, organizations, and individuals who have worked to deepen the culture of solidarity, shared responsibility, and human values.
Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education is an informal educational institution in Iran that was established in 1987 by Baha’is in order to provide college level education facilities for their children’s education. Baha’is in Iran are not allowed to attend university because of their Faith.
In recent years, many Baha’is have been arrested and sent to prison for teaching and studying in this university, and for this reason, official classes are not held in this university.
The students of this university are self-taught and only office hours are held at the volunteers’ homes, to address any questions.
The Islamic Republic does not recognize Baha’i Faith as a “divine religion” and its followers, in addition to being deprived of rights such as studying at universities and holding government jobs, are always subject to arrest and prosecution on various charges.
In recent years, the educational exclusion of Baha’is has been extended to other education levels. In September of this year, after it was announced that a high school in Semnan refused to enroll a student because he was a “Baha’i”, Iran’s Minister of Education stated, “If the students state that they follow other religions than the official religions of the country, and this statement is somehow considered to be a form of propaganda, their education in schools is not allowed.” This statement is contrary to the language of Article 30 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which states “the government is obligated to provide free education and development facilities for all the nation to the end of secondary school”.