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Posts Tagged ‘Baha’i International Community’

Seven Years

From 14 May through 21 May, people around the world will join Bahá’ís in a global campaign to mark the seventh anniversary of the arrest and imprisonment of the seven Iranian Baha’i leaders. Each day is dedicated to one of the seven. The focus of the first day is on Mahvash Sabet as she was the first to be arrested.  The poem below is taken from her powerful collection – ‘Prison Poems.’ There is a related Facebook page at link.

Lights Out

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UN

The UN Human Rights Council, where Iran’s Universal Periodic Review outcome session took place. (UN Photo)

 

Sadly the most recent statement made by the Bahá’í International Community to the United Nations Human Rights Council indicates that the Bahá’í community, amongst others, is as far away as ever from attaining equal rights as law abiding citizens of Iran. Below is an extract from the news article: for the full post see link.

GENEVA — Iran’s limited and conditional acceptance of just two out of ten recommendations made by other governments about its ongoing persecution of Baha’is today suggests there will be no significant change in government policy in the near future – and a bleak outlook for human rights generally in Iran.

“The sad reality is that Iran has largely refused to accept recommendations made by the international community that it end discrimination against Baha’is, offering instead to the Human Rights Council only token concessions on the issue,” said Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community in Geneva.

She noted that Iran gave only partial acceptance to two recommendations that specifically mentioned Baha’is in its response to October’s Universal Periodic Review at the Council, rejecting completely the other eight.

“Other governments in October offered some very strong and significant recommendations about how Iran could end its systematic persecution of Baha’is, but Iran has walked away from them almost entirely, accepting only two in a limited and conditional manner,” said Ms. Ala’i.

“Based on this – and their past record of failure to live up to recommendations made at the 2010 UPR – we doubt there will be any improvement in the near future for Baha’is, who are persecuted in Iran solely for their religious beliefs,” said Ms. Ala’i.

In a statement read today to the Council, Ms. Ala’i observed that during the October UPR, “Mr. Javad Larijani, the head of the delegation, claimed that Baha’is ‘are dealt [with] under the so called citizenship contract’ and ‘enjoy all the privileges of any citizen in Iran,’ and that ‘they have professors at the university’ and ‘students at the university.’

“But recently Ayatollah Bojnourdi, who was one of the drafters of the Charter for Citizenship Rights, publicly said: ‘We never say that Baha’is have the right to education; Baha’is don’t even have citizenship rights!’

“This is the sad truth of the reality in Iran,” Ms. Ala’i told the Council.

Ms. Ala’i expressed the hope that, in its desire to prove to the world its oft-stated respect for the Universal Periodic Review, Iran will begin with the easy step of allowing Baha’is unrestrained access to higher education, a development that would be in line with the two recommendations it has partially accepted.

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973_03_raidabadeh

Iranian government agents confiscated photographs, Baha’i books, CDs, and computers during a raid on 14 homes in Abadeh, Iran, on 13 October 2013. Shown here are broken picture frames in a Baha’i home after the raid.

Yesterday on the Baha’i World News Service there was a report of important developments in Iran. Below is an extract: for the full story see link.

GENEVA — Following raids on 14 Baha’i homes in the Iranian city of Abadeh last month, government agents summoned the occupants for questioning and urged them to leave town or face possible deadly attacks from city residents.

“The clear aim of the raids and questioning was to create an atmosphere of intimidation and fear, so that the Baha’is of Abadeh would be encouraged to leave the city,” said Diane Ala’i, a representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

According to Ms. Ala’i, agents from the Shiraz office of the Ministry of Intelligence, with agents from Abadeh, launched the raids at about 8 am on 13 October 2013. The homes were searched, and Baha’i books, CDs, computers, and other items, including photographs, were confiscated.

During questioning, several Baha’is were told that local residents “don’t like you” and that “when you are on the street, they might attack you and your children with knives.”

Ms. Ala’i said, however, that not only is there no evidence that the people of Abadeh themselves are against the Baha’is but that the experience of the Baha’is says the opposite is true.

“The real story is that the government is the culprit behind such threats and attacks,” said Ms. Ala’i. “The people of Abadeh have nothing against Baha’is and many love to associate with them freely.

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5y2 many

For the period of the campaign announced earlier this month by the Baha’i International Community, I felt that it would be more fitting, rather than using my own, to post poems taken from Mahvash Sabet’s powerful collection – ‘Prison Poems.’ For the latest update on the campaign’s progress see link.

Loneliness

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5y2 many

For the period of the campaign announced earlier this month by the Baha’i International Community, I felt that it would be more fitting, rather than using my own, to post poems taken from Mahvash Sabet’s powerful collection – ‘Prison Poems.’ For the latest update on the campaign’s progress see link.

Lights Out

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5y2 many

For the period of the campaign announced earlier this month by the Baha’i International Community, I felt that it would be more fitting, rather than using my own, to post poems taken from Mahvash Sabet’s powerful collection – ‘Prison Poems.’ For the latest update on the campaign’s progress see link.

Cocoon

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5y2 many

The following important piece was posted on the Baha’i World News Service website earlier today: for the full article see link.

5 May 2013

NEW YORK — To mark the five year anniversary of the wrongful imprisonment of the seven Iranian Baha’i leaders, the Baha’i International Community is launching a campaign to call for their immediate release – and to draw attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran.

“On 14 May, the seven innocent Baha’i leaders will have been behind bars for five full years, unjustly imprisoned solely because of their religious beliefs,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.

“We are asking people of good will around the world to raise their voices in an effort to win their freedom and the freedom of other innocent prisoners of conscience in Iran,” she said.

The campaign will run from 5 May through 15 May, under the title “Five Years Too Many.” Around the world, Baha’i communities and others are planning public events that focus on the plight of the seven, who face 15 more years in prison, and whose 20-year sentences are the longest of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.

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