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Iran’s persecution of Bahais a ‘crime against humanity’: HRW

By Rudaw

April 2, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday slammed Iran’s “decades-long” persecution of members of the Bahai religious minority, saying its acts constitute crimes against humanity.

The Bahais, Iran's largest non-Muslim minority, follow the teachings of Bahaullah, born in Persia in 1817, whom they consider a prophet and founder of their monotheistic faith. Iran brands Bahais "heretics" and often accuses them of being spies linked to Israel, as their world headquarters are located in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

The rights monitor said in its report that the Bahais face numerous rights violations including arbitrary detentions, confiscations of property, restrictions to access to education and employment, as well as denials to burial according to their faith. 

“Iranian authorities deprive Baha’is of their fundamental rights in every aspect of their lives, not due to their actions, but simply for belonging to a faith group,” said Michael Page, HRW’s deputy Middle East director.

“It is critically important to increase international pressure on Iran to end this crime against humanity,” he added. 

HRW stated that the systematic repression, which has been in place since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, is purely due to the community belongs to a different religious group. 

The report said that the actions against the group go against the principals of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which defines persecution as the intentional deprivation of rights of a group on religious grounds. 

The report is one of the few by a renowned international organization to label Iran’s treatment of Bahais so seriously. 

In December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on Iran to end human rights violations against minority religions including the Bahais, citing "harassment, intimidation, persecution, arbitrary arrests and detention" among other breaches.

The Bahai faith is a relatively modern monotheistic religion with spiritual roots dating back to the early 19th century in Iran, promoting the unity of all people and equality.

The Bahai community claims to have more than seven million followers worldwide.



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