“Everyone has the right to education.”-Universal Declaration of Human Rights


15-December-2012

Thousands of other students have also been barred from universities for being active in student unions, campus publications, or social and political issues including women’s rights, academic freedom, human rights and the rights of prisoners.

Authorities have also sought to close down Baha’i efforts to establish their own educational initiatives, including the ‘Baha’i Institute for Higher Education’ (BIHE). Such acts on the part of the Iranian government are, without doubt, part of a coordinated effort to eradicate the Baha’i community as a viable group within Iranian society.

Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, "everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion."

Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognises "the right of everyone to education," and that, "higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity.” Iran ratified both Covenants in 1975.

Shameless persecution
Initial news of the arrests of teachers, members and staff of the BIHE has provoked condemnation from governments, non-governmental organisations, human rights activists, and others. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) has called for the immediate release of the prisoners.

Iran's discrimination against Baha'is in the sphere of education is part of an ongoing policy of religious persecution and a clear violation of its international obligations.

Progress and development blocked
During the years immediately following the 1979 Islamic revolution, large numbers of young Baha'is were expelled from education. At the college-level, the ban was virtually total.

The brutal targeting of Baha'is by the new regime – including the execution of more than 200 prominent members – was met with widespread international criticism, including a series of UN resolutions condemning Iran's human rights violations.

That the government's hope through such policies was to see Iran's 300,000 Baha'is vanish into obscurity – while evading international sanctions – was confirmed with the discovery of a secret memorandum that outlined a plan to "block" the "progress and development" of the Baha'i community.

These injustices are a reflection of the terrible oppression that has engulfed the whole of Iran. Large numbers of young people are being excluded from higher education based on their political or religious beliefs, or the exercise of their freedom of expression.

Our call is for the Baha'is of Iran – and all who are the victims of such abuse – to be granted their full rights of citizenship so they may fulfill their heartfelt aspiration to contribute to the advancement of their nation.
Showing respect now for the rights of the Iranian Baha'is would signal a willingness on the part of the authorities to respect the rights of all their citizens.

Human Rights in Iran
• Raids, arrests and convictions: Since August 2004, some 639 Baha'is have been arrested in Iran. There are about 120 Iranian Baha'is currently in prison because of their religion. To date, the cases of some 517 Baha'is are still active with authorities.

• Economic pressure: Economic pressure on Iran’s Baha’i community is acute, with both jobs and business licenses being denied to Baha’is. Government jobs, including not only in the civil service but also in such fields as education and law, have been denied to Baha’is since the years immediately following the Revolution.

• International Reaction: Governments, organisations and individual supporters around the world are calling for the release of jailed Baha'i leaders and Baha’i educators, and an end to the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. At a seminar held on Monday 22 October at the International Peace Institute in New York, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran – Ahmed Shaheed – described Baha’is as “the most persecuted religious minority in Iran,” noting that they face a whole range of discrimination – from being unable to practice their faith to being denied access to basic services.

• Persecution by educational institutions : Baha’i school children at all school levels continue to be monitored and slandered by officials in schools. Secondary school students often face pressure and harassment, and some have been threatened with expulsion. Recently, on a registration form at a school in Esfahan, in addition to the four recognised religions, “Baha’ism” was added. One student, who declared her religion as Baha'i, was immediately expelled and was refused re-enrolment.

UN vote registers "deep concern" over Iran's human rights violations
27 November 2012

UNITED NATIONS — Citing a long list of abuses, a UN committee expressed "deep concern" over "ongoing and recurring" human rights violations in Iran.

The General Assembly's Third Committee called upon Iran to stop such violations, to release prisoners of conscience, and to open its doors to international human rights monitors.

Among other things, the resolution noted Iran's alarming use of the death penalty, the systematic targeting of human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers, and the "pervasive gender inequality and violence against women." It also expressed concern over continuing discrimination against minorities, including the persecution of Iranian Baha'is.

Compiled and contributed by the Baha’i community in Seychelles

 


Human rights supporters have issued a poster depicting some of those staff of the ‘Baha'i Institute for Higher Education’ (BIHE) who have been arrested in Iran. They were offering education to young community members barred by the government from attending university.

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