Statement by Human rights Commissioner Kofler on discrimination against Baha’is and other unrecognised religious groups in Iran

31.01.2020 - Press release

Commenting on current reports about a change to the Iranian ID application form, which now only allows for applications from members of religious communities recognised in Iran, Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (31 January):

Extremely worrying news has reached me from Iran in recent days. The new regulations for Iranian IDs represent a serious infringement of the rights of Baha’is and other religious minorities in Iran. These new rules only allow for applications from those who belong to faiths recognised in Iran. Members of religious minorities will have to deny their religious identity in order to obtain an ID. Without an ID, they cannot buy property or apply for a passport or driving licence.

It is high time to put an end to the hefty discrimination faced by the Baha’is and other religious minorities on account of their faith. Iran is violating people’s right to freedom of religion, a right which it undertook to protect and respect when it signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Background information

Iran’s new ID application form only allows for applications from adherents of religions recognised in the Iranian constitution – i.e. Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism. Members of other faiths, including the Baha’is, will therefore be forced to choose between denying their faith or doing without basic public services, such as the ability to apply for a loan, cash a cheque or buy property. The German Government regularly campaigns for freedom of religion in Iran.


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