Shirin Ebadi’s Open Letter to Ban Ki-Moon Convince Iranian Authorities to Be More Considerate toward Sufis and Other Religious Communities

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Sunday, Sep 21 2014


Tehran, 20-09-2014, security forces attacked and arrested Gonabadi Sufis who were going to stage a peace rally in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office. On the same day, Shirin Ebadi, the lawyer, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and the head of Defenders of Human Rights Center, wrote an open letter to Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, and asked him to convince Iranian authorities to adopt a considerate and peaceful approach to this and other religious communities in his meetings with them.
The full text of the letter as reported by Majzooban Noor follows:

Dear Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon;

A Sufi community, called Gonabadi Sufis, have endured more than 15 years of suffering, including imprisonment, violation of social rights, intimidation, and the cutting of their hair, beards, and mustaches by force. More painful is that the lawyers who defended the Sufi prisoners have not been immune to the wrath of Iranian authorities and are now in prison together with their clients, suffering more severe oppression. Consequently, some of them have gone on hunger strike, one of whom is now experiencing serious health conditions. Therefore, in reaction to the discrimination this Sufi community has encountered, the rest of the Sufis have announced in a letter to officials that, since their demands and requests were not responded to, they will go to prison voluntarily to inform the rest of the world of the oppressions they are faced with. Thus, today, 20-09-2014, they were going to stage a peace rally in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office but security and police forces blocked their path beating them and their families savagely whilst arresting many more.

Since it has become impossible for the Sufis to endure these conditions, more tensions and conflicts are highly likely. Therefore, I’d really appreciate it if, in meetings with Iranian authorities, you could highlight the abovementioned situation and try to convince them to adopt a considerate and peaceful approach to Sufi and other religious communities, as stated in their obligations vis-à-vis international treaties, which they claim to observe. Given the sensitive conditions in the Middle East, tensions of any kind can lead to grave consequences for the country. The only way to bring peace back is to respect citizens’ rights. It is also worth mentioning that Sufism has origins in the history of Iran, and there are many who follow the Sufi path. Some of them belong to Gonabadi order. They are Muslim and Shiite and, based on their religious ideology, avoid every form of violence.

Shirin Ebadi
Head of Defenders of Human Rights Center
20, September, 2014

Copy sent to:
Ahmad Shahid, Rapporteur on the conditions of human rights in Iran
Rapporteur on Religious Liberty
Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression
High Commissioner for Human Rights


One Response

  1. vafa-canada

    September 22, 2014 11:13 pm

    After 35 years, we all know well that unless this regime is completely uprooted from governing the country and society at large, there will never be any Human Rights for any of the minority groups in Iran. The UN should promote the boycott of all Iranian businesses and do not allow any Iranian students to study outside of the country.
    Without extreme pressure they (IRI) will never listen to anyone.


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