Parliamentarians across Europe issue joint statement on the situation of Baha’i women in Iran

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BRUSSELS—3 July 2024—In a significant intervention, the European Union, along with more than 50 members of parliament (MPs) and senators from several European countries, have called on the Iranian government to end its persecution of the country’s Baha’i religious minority.

The EU’s statement, issued as a response to a parliamentary question at the European Parliament, said “the EU firmly calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all Iranians, including persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities such as the Baha’is.”

The MPs meanwhile expressed dismay at the escalating attacks against Baha’i women—who face persecution in Iran both as women and as Baha’is.

The escalation in Iran is “utterly unacceptable,” the joint statement by parliamentarians said, and represented “a distressing trend of hostilities against a community that has faced systematic persecution since 1979.”

The MPs also insisted that Iranian authorities uphold “the rights to liberty, employment, freedom of association and expression, property, education” and burial “without discrimination or prejudice.”

“We welcome these two powerful statements showing the grave and rising concern in Europe for the wellbeing of the Baha’is in Iran,” said Rachel Bayani, the Baha’i International Community (BIC) Representative to the European institutions in Brussels. “The Iranian government must know that their crimes against the innocent Baha’i community in Iran have become evident to all —and that in Europe, and across the world, their abuse of the human rights of women and minorities and systematic persecution of Baha’is is laid bare for the world to see.”

In recent weeks the BIC has reported on an escalation of oppression against the Baha’i community in Iran—from the destruction of Baha’i-owned farmlands to intensifying persecution of Baha’i women. The worsening situation has led to rising support for the Baha’is across the world, from governments, Nobel Peace Laureates, parliamentarians, prominent individuals and others. And most recently, 10 Iranian women jailed in Evin Prison issued a public letter condemning the Islamic Republic’s persecution of the Baha’is.

More than 200 Baha’is were executed in Iran in the early 1980s and Baha’is have been systematically persecuted by the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

The full text of the MPs’ statement says:

In light of the alarming targeting of women in Iran, we, Members of Parliament and Senators from across Europe, express our profound dismay at an escalation in the attacks against Baha’i women who face dual persecution, as women and as Baha’is. 

The recent surge in attacks against Baha’i women is evidenced by the fact that they currently comprise two-thirds of Baha’i prisoners. Additionally, 72 out of the 93 Baha’is summoned to court since early March are women. This escalation is utterly unacceptable and represents a distressing trend of hostilities against a community that has faced systematic persecution since 1979, a repression that Human Rights Watch, in their recent report The Boot on My Neck, has stated amounts to the crime against humanity of persecution.

We urgently call upon the Iranian authorities to immediately halt the persecution of Baha’is, release all Baha’i prisoners, and ensure the protection of their full spectrum of human rights. These rights include the rights to liberty, employment, freedom of association and expression, property, education, and the right of burial. These fundamental rights must be upheld without any form of discrimination or prejudice.


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