[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Adapted from website:] Negah

[Date:] 11 March 2009

 

Statement by Researchers, Professors, Middle East Studies Scholars and Iranologists

We the below signatories [are] researchers, professors, Middle East studies scholars and Iranologists. We call on the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to end the violation of the human rights of Baha’is in Iran and not to deprive them of their civil rights and freedoms, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social [and Cultural Rights], documents that have been signed by the government of Iran. As human rights abuses against Baha’is have intensified in recent months, we are deeply concerned about the on-going activities to deprive Baha’is of their human rights. These activities have serious potential for further violation of Baha’i human rights.

Recent events include the following, but are not all:

Illegal Arrests: On 14 January 2009, [Iranian] authorities arrested five Baha’is in Tehran: Jinous Sobhani, Shahrokh Taef, Didar Raoufi, Payam Aghsani, and Aziz Samandari. Then two Baha’is were arrested in Mashhad, and the homes of eight Baha'is in Tehran were raided, leading to the arrest of Nima Haghar in Tehran on 1 February 2009. The detention of these Baha’is followed the arrest and imprisonment of several other Baha’is in various cities and districts throughout Iran and were reminiscent of the arrest of seven leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran in 2008. These Baha’is remain in detention despite protests from the United Nations, six Nobel laureates, and several human rights organizations each and every one of them demanding their immediate release.

Attack on Baha’i homes: Authorities also entered Baha’i homes to arrest or confiscate personal belongings, such as photographs, books, and computers. One of the most recent concerns in this regard is the publication of 31 pages of the names of the Baha’is of Shiraz, the type of occupation, their home address and place of work. This publication included quotations from some high-ranking clerics, including Ayatollah Khomeini, against the Baha’is, which could incite the people to attack the Baha’i homes.

Deprivation of education: Since 1979, the Government of Iran has banned Baha’i students from pursuing higher education, which is an inalienable human right, and has imposed various restrictions on private classes held in homes for students deprived of education.

Extensive intimidation and threats: These include harassment of Baha’i children, propaganda against Baha’is in the mass media supported by the government, holding public seminars and distributing free CDs containing anti-Baha’i material in schools across the country, and intimidating and threatening those who have risen in support of the Baha’is, including Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the winner of the Peace Prize.

Financial and economic strangulation: Over decades, the government of Iran has dismissed all Baha’i employees from government jobs throughout the country and has systematically planned the seizure and confiscation of homes, businesses, and financial resources in order to completely annihilate the Baha’i community economically as well as taking possession of their other assets.

Attack on and disrespect for Baha’i cemeteries: Baha’i cemeteries in Qaemshahr, Yazd, Najafabad, and other areas have been continuously destroyed.

We, the undersigned, declare our solidarity with the Baha’is and, in fact, with members of all religions and communities in Iran who are denied full rights and freedoms.

Signatories: [66 Names with the name of their universities]