Venezuelan Deputy Angel Alvarado: Persecutions for Beliefs Must Stop

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Translation by Iran Press Watch

September 30, 2016


This parliamentarian wrote in a letter to the Iranian ambassador that the Baha’i community is persecuted for being “religiously impure”

The Venezuelan parliamentarian, Angel Alvarado, has delivered a missive to Hojjatollah Soltani, the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Venezuela, with the purpose of urging measures to end the economic oppression of the Baha’i community in Iran for being “religiously impure”, and falsely arguing that they represent a threat to national security.

“We demand respect for this community equal to what we do here in our country toward all Venezuelans. We believe in freedom, and that is why we are daily struggling for citizens’ rights. It is necessary that the persecution of citizens solely for their beliefs be ended and that freedom of belief be allowed. At the same time, we reject persecution for political reasons, Alvarado declared.

The call Alvarado is making is in compliance with the adoption of agreements reached by the International Panel of Parliamentarians for the Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB), of which he has been a member since the most recent meeting in September in Berlin.

In the letter, the deputy indicated that Baha’is are prohibited from participating in a wide range of activities and professions, have their stores closed and licenses rejected, and are prevented from working in the public and private sectors. This persecution occurs in both rural and urban areas, and is directed toward both established adults and youth who are still seeking a career and cannot gain admission to university.

According to Angel Alvarado, who is an economist, these violations of the right to freedom of religion can bring negative consequences to the economic well-being of the country, and have deprived Iran of human and financial resources.

The missive contains a call to carry out the intent of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including a provision which has been included in Iran’s own constitution stating that all citizens have the same basic rights, which is one of the fundamental prerequisites for the creation of an egalitarian society.

Alvarado concludes his communication asa member of the IPPFoRB, an informal network of parliamentarians and legislators from around the world committed to the struggle against religious persecution against people for their beliefs, in solidarity with the Baha’i community, and requiring that urgent initiatives be taken to reverse this situation.


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