UN Human Rights Council – 36th Session

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Source: www.bic.org

Agenda Item 10

GENEVA—28 September 2017

Mr. President,

The people of Yemen are all suffering under an extremely dire humanitarian situation, and their strife appears to be daily increasing. Furthermore, Yemeni Bahá’ís, as a religious minority, are experiencing additional pressure solely because of their beliefs.

After arresting over 60 men, women, and children who were participating in an educational conference organized by an NGO and the Bahá’í community in 2016, the authorities in Sana’a called in April of this year for the arrest of over 25 Bahá’ís, many of whom are prominent community members assisting with the organization of community affairs. They are accused, among other things, of showing kindness in order to attract people to their Faith and arranging meetings for Bahá’ís.

Today, there are seven Bahá’ís arbitrarily detained in the Houthi-controlled region of Yemen. Five of these are held in undisclosed locations and the prosecutor, Rajeh Zayed, is ensuring that all seven are held indefinitely by continually postponing their trials. Moreover, Bahá’í families have been forced to abandon their homes and go into hiding in order to avoid unjust detention. Information from reliable sources confirms that Iranian authorities are behind these persecutions.

Mr. President, despite the harrowing circumstances, the Yemeni Bahá’ís have refused to side with one group or another and have instead endeavoured to serve all people. Their efforts have been centred on tribal reconciliation, reconstruction, medical assistance, youth empowerment, education, and humanitarian and disaster relief. The Human Rights Council must give a strong signal to the Houthi and Saleh authorities, as well as to Iran, that this oppression must stop.

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