Attack on Baha’i businesses rise – Iran has again failed to adequately address repeated calls by governments for greater respect for religious freedom and put an end to discrimination against religious minorities.
Around the time Iran’s UN representative was glossing over the issue of religious discrimination at a Human Rights Council session, a widespread, pre-planned, systematic attack against scores of Baha’i business owners was taking place in Kerman, Rafsanjan, and Jiroft. “This has brought further pain and hardship to countless families who are already suffering from the consequences of government policies aimed at nothing less than the economic strangulation of Iran’s Baha’i community,” says Bev Watson, director of the NZ Baha’i Office of External Affairs.
Ms Watson said the attack was blatantly contrary to the claim made by Iran’s United Nations representative that Baha’is enjoy all citizenship rights. “The closure in late October of no fewer than 79 Baha’i-owned shops because proprietors had stopped doing business to observe a Baha’i holy day violates the freedom of these Iranian citizens to practice their religion.”
There is also escalating concern over the 30 year plus official ban on Baha’is being allowed to attend university, work in the public sector or be gainfully employed in their own businesses.
Ms Watson noted that governments from every region have raised the issue of religious intolerance in Iran. Concern over the treatment of Baha’is, Christians, Sunni Muslims, and Sufis were frequently and specifically raised at UN human rights sessions, she said. “Governments have also repeatedly raised concern over evidence of widespread discrimination against women, the imprisonment of journalists and human rights defenders, and the excessive use of the death penalty, especially in the absence of legal due process.”
More than 100 governments made statements, submitted questions or offered recommendations to Iran at the UN’s recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
More than 100 Baha’is are currently in prison in Iran.
Source: Attack on Baha’i businesses rise