Prominent figures from the worlds of education, law, human rights, religion and journalism have today published an open letter expressing grave concern at the Iranian government’s denial of access to education to members of the Bahá’í faith.
The letter, published in today’s edition of The Times newspaper, to mark the 60th anniversary of the adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, calls the Iranian government’s policy “manifestly unjust”.
“It also sits ill at ease with Iran’s history of respect for learning and its pluralist tradition,” says the letter.
The letter, sponsored by Professor Bhikhu Parekh, Baron Parekh, pictured, has been signed by, among others, several distinguished academics, barristers Baron Gifford QC and Baroness Kennedy QC, Nobel Peace prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, church leaders in Scotland, journalist Deborah Orr, and a number of other influential people from throughout the United Kingdom.
Bahá’ís have been denied access to university in Iran for many years but it is now reported that both high schools and primary schools across the country have begun to identify and expel pupils who are members of the Bahá’í faith, the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority. “Such expulsions are a clear breach of Iran’s obligations under Article 13 of the Covenant of Economic, Cultural and Social Rights,” says the letter.
“We call upon the government of Iran to allow full and unfettered access to education for all members of the Iranian Bahá’í community, and to cease the harassment of Bahá’ís at any and all centres of learning in Iran,” the letter says.
Read the letter online at The Times: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article5314700.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1