A resolution calling on the Iranian government to end its discrimination of minorities in Iran, including of the Baha’i community, Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority, has been approved by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues, also known as the Third Committee. The resolution will be sent to the General Assembly plenary next month for final passage.
The resolution, introduced by Canada and 50 co-sponsors from all regions, passed by 79 votes in favor, with 28 against and 68 abstentions. Panama registered an 80th vote in favor after voting closed.
Canada, which introduced the resolution, said during remarks ahead of the vote that it was concerned about “persistent violations, especially the systematic persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, including the Baha'i” community. And New Zealand said there “must be accountability for the ongoing systemic repression … of ethnic and religious minority communities, including the Baha’i community” in its own remarks.
The United Kingdom cited the “systematic repression of minority groups” and Australia criticized the Iranian government for “unjustifiable discrimination against ethnic and religious” minorities.
The vote comes as the ongoing crackdown against the Baha’i community has escalated in Iran. Since late July, the Baha’i International Community (BIC) has recorded almost 300 incidents of arbitrary detention and arrest, prison sentences, home searches and property confiscations, denial of livelihood and denial of education, as well as other instances of persecution over the past year.
A shocking and outrageous propaganda ploy to incriminate the Baha’is in Iran, through a staged video production filmed in a kindergarten, was also exposed during the year, as was the Iranian leadership’s plan to enrich itself by confiscating Baha’i-owned properties, while dozens of other Bahá’ís had also been arrested earlier in the year.
The Iranian government has come under unprecedented scrutiny over its human rights record since a national crisis erupted in the country since the middle of September.
“The international community has once more called on the Islamic Republic to abide by its human rights commitments, to respect the rights of the Baha’is, and indeed to respect the rights of all Iranian citizens,” said Bani Dugal, the BIC’s Principal Representative to the United Nations. “The Baha’is in Iran know how it feels to be detained on false charges, held without due process, mistreated during interrogation, for families to fear for their loved ones, and to be slandered from the pulpit or in the media, for standing up for their beliefs. No one in Iran should have to experience such hardships and injustice.”
Resolutions on Iran’s human rights situation have been tabled and approved each year since the early 1980s, making it one of the UN’s most enduring human rights concerns, and one of only 14 current country-specific mandates.
The summer crackdown against the Baha’is prompted government officials around the world, international and national media outlets and dozens of prominent civil society actors and individuals, to rush to the defense of the Baha’i community, with an outpouring of statements, news coverage and social media posts. The crackdown had started with a wave of arrests on 31 July and the violent destruction of homes in the village of Roshankouh in northern Iran.
Hundreds of millions of people were reached by online and traditional media news coverage of these events and supportive statements concerning these acts of persecution against the Baha’is in Iran.
This press release is republished from the Bahá'í International Community.