Situation concerning religious minorities' rights is unsatisfactory in Iran: UN representative (INTERVIEW)

Politics Materials 29 June 2009 11:06 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 27 / Trend T.Konyayeva /

 Exclusive interview of the Trend Persian Service with UN world community Baha'is representative Diana Ala'i arriving in Baku

Last report of Amnesty International and UN Human Rights council reflected anxiety concerning Baha'is rights in Iran. What do you think on this regards?

There are special human rights speakers in UN. They investigate facts of pressure on minorities in any countries. Seven leaders of Baha'is are kept under arrest during a year in Iran. UN speakers for minority and illegal arrests submitted report in Human Rights Council. Pressure exerted upon Baha'is in Iran is real reason for anxiety. The human rights council called official Tehran for explanations on this regards. But Iran's authority denies facts of pressure on Baha'is. 

What is the way of pressure towards Baha'is?

For example, besides arrest of seven Baha'is leaders, there are many facts of Baha'is students expelled from universities, search of their flats, destruction of Baha'is cemetery, etc. If authorities' pressure turns into clashes, we apply to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Navanethem Pillay.  

What are results of these appeals?

Ms Pillay sends letter to Iran's authority and expresses her anxiety. The UN General Assembly discusses human rights resolution every year. The resolution covering Baha'is rights in Iran reflects UN requirements towards Tehran.

Iran's officials state that arrested Baha'is are accused of national security violation, as well as espionage for Israel.

We do not admit these accusations. First, Baha'is religion bans t deal with politics. There were no conceptions, such as Israel and Zionism when Baha'is prophet was exiled to Palestine. It is true that presently Baha'is mausoleum is situated in Israeli town of Acco. Center of Baha'is religion is Israel. But is does not connected with relations between Iran's authorities and Israel.    

Reformists-candidates told about intention to give freedom for religious minorities on the threshold of presidential elections in Iran. What is 300,000 Baha'is future like in Iran if we take into account that Baha'is are not admitted by Iran?

Karrubi and Ayatollah Hussein Ali Muntaziri said that Baha'is have all civil rights. Iran's people supported Baha'is by slogans during election campaign saying: "Baha'is have right for life." It testifies that people treat well the biggest religious minority - Baha'is in Iran. Iran's people always protect them from pressure as they see that Baha'is respect Islamic religion.

Despite Baha'is religion arose in Iran in 1844, it was not officially admitted by authorities of Iran.

This problem occurs not only in Iran. Baha'is faced this problem in Egypt. It was forbidden to indicate Baha'is in identification card in Egypt. Despite the court made decision about legalization of Baha'is religion, authorities refused from admitting it. Only after efforts of human rights activists, Bahaism was included in list of official religions together with Christianity, Islam and Judaism.   

You are outside of Iran and express anxiety concerning Baha'is state Iran. Iran's authorities consider that human rights situation in Iran can be appreciated only within Iran.

UN Human Rights Council representative operated in Iran some years ago. Unfortunately, presently, resolutions do not indicate on necessity in presence of UN Human Rights Council special representative in examined country. Speakers studying human rights situation were exiled from Iran. Unfortunately, presently, neither UN Human Rights Council, nor UN Human Rights Council has representatives in Iran.

What can you tell about state of seven arrested Baha'is leaders?

The trial over arrested Baha'is will be held on July 11. But some problems occurred because of hard post-election situation in the country. Lawyer of arrested people Shirin Ibadi is abroad. Other lawyer Sultani was arrested. The most terrifying thing is that the death penalty is not excluded towards Baha'is. They are accused of grave charges, such as espionage for Israel, violation of national security, disrespect for saints, as well as preparation for disorders in the country.

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