United Nations

UN Commission condemns religious intolerance in Iran

GENEVA - In a strongly worded resolution expressing grave concern over continuing human rights violations in Iran, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights called on the Government of Iran to "implement fully" the recommendations of a recent UN report on religious intolerance which urged an end the ban against Bahá'í institutions there.

By a vote of 24 to 7, the Commission on 24 April 1996 expressed concern over Iran's "failure to meet international standards for the administration of justice, notably with respect to pre-trial detention and the right of accused persons to defense lawyers, subsequent executions in the absence of guarantees of due process of law and cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the discriminatory treatment of minorities by reason of their religious beliefs, notably the Bahá'ís, whose existence as a viable religious community in the Islamic Republic of Iran is threatened," and the "lack of adequate protection for some Christian minorities…."

More specifically, the resolution called for the Iran to "implement fully the conclusions and recommendations" of a February report by Professor Abdelfattah Amor of Tunisia, the UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance.In the report to the Commission, Prof. Amor challenged Iran's claim that the Bahá'í Faith is a political organization and is therefore not subject to the international agreements against religious intolerance.

He then called on Iran to end the ban on Bahá'í institutions in that country, to return confiscated Bahá'í properties, to give Bahá'ís full access to institutions of higher education and to grant full freedom for Bahá'ís to practice their religious beliefs.

Since 1979, the Iranian Bahá'í community, the largest religious minority in Iran, has suffered intimidation, discrimination, violence and even death simply because its religious beliefs differ from those held by the authorities. More than 200 Bahá'ís have been killed or executed and thousands more have been imprisoned, fired from their jobs, or deprived of access to education.