Unprecedented vote at US House of Representatives in support of Iranian Baha’is invigorates global support

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Source: bic.org

GENEVA—15 September 2023—Amid a severe crackdown on the Iranian Baha’i community, the US House of Representatives has passed a resolution about the Baha’is in Iran with 28 congressional co-sponsors—an unprecedented number of co-sponsors among congressional resolutions on the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran for at least 20 years.

The new bill, House Resolution 492, was introduced by Illinois Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky. It follows Ms. Schakowsky’s strong support for the ongoing #OurStoryIsOne campaign, launched in June of this year where she initially announced this bill. The campaign began in honor of the 40th anniversary of the execution of 10 Baha’i women in Shiraz for their beliefs. The Baha’i International Community dedicated the campaign and the anniversary to all women in Iran who continue to struggle for the cause of gender equality. 

The resolution begins with the execution of the 10 women, stating, “[w]hereas June 18, 2023, marks the 40th anniversary of the execution of 10 Baha’i women by the Iranian Government each witnessing the hanging of those hanged before her in a final failed attempt to induce abandonment of their faith after over 6 months of imprisonment and violent abuse, with the youngest only 17 years old.”

It further condemns the “violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights,” calling on the Iranian government to “immediately release Baha’is and others imprisoned or detained solely on account of religion, end its state-sponsored campaign of hate propaganda against the Baha’is, and reverse policies that discriminate against Baha’is and other religious minorities.

Schakowsky said after its passage that the House of Representatives was “sending a strong, unified message to the government of Iran condemning its grave human rights abuses” and that the “United States and its allies must use all available diplomatic tools to ensure Iran ends this hate-fueled campaign against its Baha’i minority now.”

The resolution also noted that “Iran’s Baha’is have never been recognized by their government and are often persecuted by the Iranian regime. The regime often seizes personal property, denies Baha’is access to education and employment opportunities, and detains or imprisons Baha’is based solely on their religious beliefs.”

“The Baha’i International Community (BIC) welcomes this expression of unprecedented bipartisan support from the American legislature,” said Simin Fahandej, Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva. “Iran’s government must know that the international community is watching how it treats its citizens, including one of its most vulnerable populations, the Baha’is. We have seen time and again that its treatment of the Baha’is is a litmus test of how it treats the wider population in Iran.”

“Dozens of Iranian Baha’is have been either detained, arrested, tried, convicted or jailed in recent weeks,” Ms. Fahandej added. “Iran’s government stops at nothing to try to strangle the Baha’is of Iran, to render them unviable as a community, to suppress them and to spread hate speech and slander against them. Iranians and the international community strongly and with one voice call for an end to the systematic persecution against the Baha’is and violations of the rights of so many across the nation. All citizens and all groups in Iran deserve to live as equals in their own country, whether woman or man, whether they are in the majority or are members of ethnic or religious minorities.”


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