United Nations

United Nations Sub-Commission calls for the "emancipation" of Baha'i community in Iran

GENEVA -- A panel of United Nations human rights experts, reviewing the situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, has urged measures to promote the "emancipation" of oppressed Bahá'í and Christian communities there.

At its annual meeting in August, the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities adopted by secret ballot a resolution expressing deep concern over "extensive and continuing human rights violations" by the Government of Iran.

The resolution, approved on 24 August 1995 by a vote of 13 to 7 with 2 abstentions, listed "arbitrary and summary executions, torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, unexplained disappearances, the absence of guarantees essential for the protection of the right to a fair trial and disregard for freedom of expression and freedom of religion" as among the major violations in Iran.

The Sub-Commission called on Iran to comply with all current international norms for human rights, and it requested that the Secretary-General of the United Nations continue to keep it informed of "United Nations measures to prevent human rights violations," including those that deal with the "emancipation" of the Bahá'í and Christian communities in Iran.

In a prepared statement, the Bahá'í International Community told the Sub-Commission that "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. The ultimate aim of the authorities has been the very eradication of the Bahá'ís as a viable religious community in Iran."

Techeste Ahderom, the Community's principal representative to the United Nations, said "the use of the word 'emancipation' is significant inasmuch as it underscores the lack of fundamental freedoms for the Bahá'ís of Iran -- not to mention the fundamental freedoms that are being denied to other religious groups. The call for emancipation is appropriate and welcome."