In connection with reports that members of the Baha’i faith in the Iranian province of Semnan are facing increasing harassment, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid Markus Löning today (14 November) issued the following statement:
Despite a host of international appeals and protests, the regime in Iran is stepping up its campaign against the country’s Baha’i community.
I am gravely concerned particularly by the reported harassment of Baha’i in the province of Semnan.
Physical assaults, arrests and the systematic intimidation of members of the Baha’i faith are unacceptable. The same goes for the arbitrary closing down of shops and the exmatriculation of students enrolled in Iranian universities.
Such measures violate the fundamental principles of freedom of religion or belief, principles which Iran has undertaken to respect by signing, among other things, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
I call on Iran’s leaders to put an immediate stop to the harassment of the Baha’i and meet their obligations under international law.
The Baha’i in Iran are denied recognition as a religious community and frequently suffer harassment and systematic intimidation.
In the field of education and training as well as labour law they likewise face discrimination. Their children are often compelled to change school; students are expelled from university or not allowed to matriculate in the first place; the security forces close down shops at random and order community members to appear before disciplinary tribunals. It is generally very difficult for Baha’i who have suffered such discrimination and harassment to file an official complaint.