UN calls on Iran to end human rights violations against its largest non-Muslim religious minority, the Baha’is in Iran


NEW YORK—15 November 2019—

Following the UN’s review of Iran’s human rights record, and with the country having fallen short of meeting several of its commitments made four years ago to comply with the international community’s recommendations, a committee of the United Nations General Assembly has condemned Iran for its continued violations of human rights.

By a vote of 84 to 30, the Third Committee of the General Assembly approved a resolution on 14 November. Sixty-six Member States voted by abstention.

The six-page resolution expressed “serious concern about ongoing severe limitations and increasing restrictions on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, against persons belonging to recognized and unrecognized religious minorities, including ... members of the Baha’i faith”.  

This resolution follows two recent reports on Iran. Javaid Rehman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, noted in his report from July 2019 that “Over the past 40 years, the Baha’is, considered to be the largest non-Muslim and unrecognized religious minority in the Islamic Republic of Iran ... have suffered from the most egregious forms of repression, persecution and victimization.” 

Additionally, the Secretary General in a report about Iran from September 2019 included the following recommendation: “The Secretary-General urges the Government to ensure the protection of minority groups and individuals, and to uphold and implement legislation that protects them.”

Meanwhile, in Geneva, during the 34th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a large number of countries criticized Iran for its violation of the rights of religious minorities which led to six recommendations that specifically refer to the Baha’is. 

“We welcome this resolution and its condemnation of Iran’s egregious human rights violations,” noted Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations. 

“The passage of this resolution sends a strong message to the Iranian authorities that continuous violations against the Baha’is and other religious minorities are well-noted by the international community, and ongoing discrimination and harassment of any religious minority group for simply practicing their faith will not be tolerated.”  

The resolution will be confirmed by the plenary of the General Assembly this December.


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