Senator highlights "warning signs" in Iran's treatment of Baha'is


Canadian Senator Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, who has called upon his government to address urgently Iran's "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Baha'i community as a separate religious entity."
Canadian Senator Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, who has called upon his government to address urgently Iran's "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Baha'i community as a separate religious entity."

[BWNS, 2 Dec. 2011] OTTAWA — Canadian Senator Romeo Dallaire, the former UN peacekeeping force commander who tried to stop the 1990s genocide in Rwanda, has said that Iran’s current actions against Baha’is remind him of what he witnessed in Africa.

“The similarities with what I saw in Rwanda are absolutely unquestionable, equal…and in fact applied with seemingly the same verve,” said Senator Dallaire.

“We are witnessing a slow-motion rehearsal for genocide,” he warned.

Senator Dallaire’s remarks came as part of a Senate inquiry into the persecution of Iranian Baha’is. The imprisonment of Baha’is for no reason other than their belief, he told the Senate, is comparable with the Rwandan situation.

Read Senator Dallaire’s speech here.

“[T]he prisons of Rwanda were filled with Tutsi people for almost the same reasons, except their crime was based on their ethnicity, rather than their religion,” he said.

Another parallel can be found in the persecution of Baha’i educators who try to teach young community members in the face of government efforts to ban them from university.

“Any Iranian who identifies as Baha’i is barred from higher education, from holding a position in the government, or from partaking in the political process,” he said.

“These attacks against the Baha’i leaders and teachers are troubling enough as human rights violations. However, they are even more disturbing because they took place in the context of the Iranian state’s severe repression of the entire Baha’i community. A similar scenario played out in Rwanda where the Tutsi ethnic minority was not allowed access to higher education in their country. They had to leave the country in order to access higher education.”

In 1994, Senator Dallaire commanded the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda that was ultimately unsuccessful in preventing the mass slaying of an estimated 800,000 Rwandans. He has since become honored and respected around the world for his humanitarian work and his courageous defense of people under threat. He has also been a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention.

When the facts and trends of the persecution of Iranian Baha’is are put together, he said, it amounts at a minimum to something he called “ideological genocide.”

“An essential element of ideological genocide is the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Baha’i community as a separate religious entity. It is this intent…that requires our urgent and deliberate attention.”

Beyond that, he said, there remains the possibility of mass atrocities if Iran’s repression of Baha’is is not checked.

“The alarming increase in incarceration among the Baha’is and, most particularly, among their leadership, the disproportionate sentences and unreasonable bail and the vile propaganda that paints Baha’is as cultish and part of a Zionist conspiracy to undermine the Islamic state of Iran is all…false. It is all an instrument to excuse the deliberate actions by that government to destroy that religion within their boundaries.”

“Make no mistake, these are not only indices of past and present persecution; they are warning signs of mass atrocities, of genocide. Let us not witness another one, fully conscious of what the consequences are,” he said.

The Canadian Senate inquiry into the issue of Iran’s persecution of Baha’is was initiated by Senator Mobina Jaffer. In remarks made on 21 June, Senator Jaffer called for “new steps” by Canada to “call Iran to account for its unacceptable treatment of the Baha’is.”

In October, Senator Hugh Segal also addressed the inquiry describing the suffering heaped on Baha’is as “systematic and brutal,” especially when they are known as a “peaceful faith that embraces the sanctity of all religions.”

Baha’i World News Service coverage of the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran

The Baha’i World News Service has published a Special Section which includes further articles and background information about Iran’s campaign to deny higher education to Baha’is. It contains news of latest developments, a summary of the situation, profiles of imprisoned Baha’i educators, feature articles, case studies and testimonials from students, resources and links.

Another Special Report offers articles and background information about the seven Iranian Baha’i leaders – their lives, their imprisonment, trial and sentencing – and the allegations made against them. It also offers further resources about the persecution of Iran’s Baha’i community.

The International Reaction page of the Baha’i World News service is regularly updated with responses from governments, nongovernmental organizations, and prominent individuals, to actions taken against the Baha’is of Iran.

The Media Reports page presents a digest of media coverage from around the world.



13 Responses

  1. sam

    December 5, 2011 6:16 pm


    i don’t think the government there is targeting the Baha’is as such but the criminal elements within it. AND THERE ARE. I was there (In Iran) myself this summer to remit a Baha’i document about World Peace and nothing bad happened to me. I even went to the office of the Supreme Leader of Iran. I think you are confusing the opposition of Iran to “Zionism” in all its forms to the opposition of the Baha’i Faith.

  2. sam

    December 5, 2011 6:24 pm


    i don’t think the government there is targeting the Baha’is as such but the criminal elements within it. AND THERE ARE (Unfortunately I must add). I was there (In Iran) myself this summer to remit a Baha’i document about World Peace and nothing bad happened to me. I even went to the office of the Supreme Leader of Iran. I think you are confusing the opposition of Iran to “Zionism” in all its forms with an opposition of the Baha’i Faith. The same kind of confusion is often made between Jews and Zionists by the way…

  3. Foad

    December 5, 2011 11:37 pm

    Weather it is the confusion between Jews, Baha’is and Zionists, whichever way you wish to label it, the fact remains that the Baha’is in Iran are being denied their most basic rights to education, work and religious practices. There is no denying in that. The issues taken up by individuals, nobel prize winners, professors, poets and government leaders around the world is precisely this denial of human rights for the Baha’is in Iran. All they are asking is to be allowed to participate in the building of a land that they love just as their fellow countrymen.

  4. sam

    December 6, 2011 5:56 pm

    Fair enough. Foad, please understand it is also criminals infiltrating the Baha’i Faith (including into the top echelons of the Faith administration) that makes the work of legitimate Baha’is more complicated. Your point is well taken however.

  5. Observer

    December 6, 2011 6:12 pm

    it saddens me to admit it but the Universal House of Justice (Baha’is supreme administrative body) is possibly corrupt. Starting with it own election (i.e. for example there is NO audit trail for counting the absentee votes which are mailed from abroad.) The mail can be intercepted by the Israeli postal authority who can decide of the fate of the entire elections (i.e. who gets elected).

    Having said that I am sure there is prejudice against Baha’is and many other groups in Iran and the US and Europe. Prejudice is not good and must be eliminated!

  6. Nasser

    December 21, 2011 6:41 am

    Dear Editor,
    In relation to the persecution of Baha’is in Iran, a few days ago, I noticed a couple of comments from Sam and also someone called himself/ herself Observer! It appears, there are some misconceptions or mix up in with the obvious reason for the persecution of Baha’is in Iran and some misunderstanding on Baha’i Administration.
    It is very strange to link persecution of Baha’is in Iran and the criminal elements! Even though the government authorities in Iran have tried to label Baha’is with all sort of fabricated accusations, so far they have not linked Baha’is with any criminal elements, may be Mr Sam knows more than every one else!! In the past 30 years ( even during Shah’s time ) the Iranian government and all its hardliners have NOT been able to produce or fabricate any single evidences that Baha’is were doing any thing wrong , in their profession, in their dealings, even in their private life. All the accusations and crime levelled against innocent Baha’is are the same old and repeated crimes such as: Dangerous to the security of country, spying to all sort of countries, disrespect to Islam, etc…There is no complexity on this issue and there is no connection to Zionism, crime or politics, the crime is being a Baha’i that promotes tolerance, co-operation and freedom for all.
    I am not sure about the claim being made by Mr Sam Re Remitting a Baha’i document on World Peace to Iranian Supreme Leader! May I request Mr Sam to enlighten us on this that what Baha’i Institution he was representing in presenting the so called Baha’i Peace document, as I haven’t heard any thing on it? Also, it is good to know that all the Baha’i activities are open to public around the world, except countries like Iran, do not allow Baha’is , even in privacy of your own home to practice their religion. At the national and local level, Baha’is around the world, without any electioneering, elect the members of relevant Admin Institutions for a period of one year and the decision making power is with the Institutions in line with the Baha’i Writings, not with individuals.

  7. Jim

    December 25, 2011 6:15 pm

    i personally know a few so-called ‘Baha’is’ who have been doing illegal things and some are prominent Baha’is. If you ask me for more specifics please note that this might send these persons to U.S. jails. So you want to know their names ?

  8. nasser

    December 26, 2011 8:34 am

    Thank you Sam, a quick review on your comments on this site, I am afraid, they don’t add up! Just let us go through to some of them:
    • You said: I don’t think government of Iran targeting the Baha’is as such, but the criminal elements… Sam , you are most welcome to have your opinion, but just read some of the documents and evidences provided by the UN agencies, articles, support/ and evidences by the leading human rights activists and etc…Also Iranian government have not been able to produce any single evidence of wrong doing by Baha’is in Iran, except their conviction to the Baha’i Faith.
    • You, certainly, have confused the concept of opposition of Iran to Zionism and the Baha’i faith. I encourage you, if you are sincere, without any attachment, you study the Baha’i history and its principles, before making a comment on a public forum. Not sure how you can make such an unrelated connection! If there is a connection between Christianity and Islam to Zionism, it is the same with Baha’i Faith.
    • In one of your comments you said: … there wasn’t any problem for you to submit a, so called, Baha’i peace document to the Iranian Supreme Leader in person by you!!? This really doesn’t add up, who do you think you are? …. Just check some of the available information on internet and on this Blog (IPW) that how people were / and are being jailed( Houshang Fanaeyan just to name one of them ) simply by writing letter to the Iranian Supreme leader!
    • Finally, it appers, you are a man of with many faces, personality, authority and talent! And you are going to name some criminals that would lead them to the US prisons!!? Good on you, very good idea!!
    • With humbleness, I would like to quote an appropriate quotation from the Baha’i Writings to conclude my comments and wish all the best to Same, who may come back with different name for comments.- “ O Son of dust! Verily I say onto thee! Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. O brethren, let Deeds , not Words, be your adorning.”

  9. Cintya

    January 1, 2012 5:31 pm

    Mr. Nasser gives us no option but to give more information.

    1. There are multimillionaires Bahais in New York who have bank accounts in Lausanne and Geneva, Switzerland. Please note that the IRS gives up to 30% of the recuperated funds to any helper. The penalty for tax evasion in the USA is heavy fines + JAIL time. I’ll be happy to give more specifics upon request by the US justice department.

    2. The United States forbids trade with Iran. I know some Baha’is who have been trading with Iran for many years, illegally. The punishment is JAIL for this crime in the U.S.

    3. Prominent “Baha’is” working in foreign banks are linked to crime, money laundering and drug trafficking. This is an open secret for anybody with access to a Google search engine.

    4. Nasser wrote: “a quick review on your comments on this site, I am afraid, they don’t add up!” My answer: … UNLESS he is telling the TRUTH (i.e. he has traveled to Iran to remit a message to Iran’s Supreme Leader.)


Leave a Reply