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Archive for August 8th, 2014

Bahá’í Cemetery Shiraz

Against the backcloth of current developments elsewhere in the Middle East, the latest bulletin from the Bahá’í World News Service may be flagging up a quieter violation of human rights, but none the less an important one. It is the latest in a long history of persecution by the Iranian government of the Bahá’í minority within its frontiers. Below is an extract: for the full post see link.

 — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has resumed its demolition of a historic Baha’i cemetery in Shiraz, Iran, after pausing for several months in the face of international pressure and the expression of outrage on the part of Iranians from all walks of life.

Reports from Iran indicate that the Guard has now removed human remains from some 30 to 50 of the 950 graves of Baha’is in the cemetery, placing them in an open canal to make way for the construction of a new cultural and sports complex.

In June, the Guards held a public celebration of their progress in clearing the site. In advance of that celebration, to which the media was invited, they used a heavy roller to compact the ground. A carpet was then laid over a number of graves and the commander of the Guards gave a speech attacking Baha’is.

“The manner in which the Revolutionary Guards have gone about destroying these sacred grounds and, now, celebrating its demolition goes beyond the pale in terms of humane behavior,” said Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva.

“Clearly, this latest action – a public celebration held upon the graves of innocent people – is an attempt by the Guards to justify to an increasingly outraged Iranian public the desecration of the cemetery and the treatment of Baha’is generally,” she said.

“We call on the government of Iran to immediately put a stop to this desecration, and we ask the international community to likewise voice its concerns about this outrageous development,” said Ms. Ala’i.

According to Ms. Ala’i, members of the Shiraz Baha’i community have pleaded with local authorities to enforce a permanent halt in the construction, offering also a compromise in which the sports complex could be built on the site away from areas where Baha’is are buried, while the graveyard itself is turned into a green space.

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