Monday, March 18, 2013

Persecution of Baha'is in Iran extends across all stages of life

GENEVA, 18 March 2013, (BWNS) ―
Heiner Bielefeldt – the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief – described the situation of the Baha'is in Iran as "one of the most obvious cases of state persecution."
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
The attacks against Baha'is in Iran represent one of the clearest cases of state-sponsored religious persecution in the world, said Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.
 Speaking 6 March 2013 in Geneva at a side event during the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council, Mr. Bielefeldt discussed the release of a new report by the Baha'i International Community, which documents rising violence against Iranian Baha'is and the utter impunity enjoyed by attackers.
 "It's really one of the most obvious cases of state persecution," he said, noting that the repression faced by Baha'is spans "all areas of state activity, from family law provisions to schooling, education, and security."
 He asked participants at the side event – which drew some 50 representatives from governments, the UN, and non-governmental organizations – to visualize the impact such wide-ranging persecution has on an individual as he or she moves through the stages of life.
"Imagine what that means for a child, in school, maybe even kindergarten, sometimes even in the preschool phase, of young life. To be exposed to the stigma, to be told there is something wrong with your family, that you have to change, you have to adapt," said Mr. Bielefeldt....